Three Rivers facilities provide entertainment options

The Three Rivers Campus is the Entertainment District of the Tri-Cities. The Three Rivers Convention Center, Toyota Center and Toyota Arena all are public buildings that continue to focus on bringing conventions, meetings, sports, concerts, family shows, Broadway shows and social events, as well as providing new entertainment and partnering special events to the growing Tri-Cities community.

The Three Rivers Convention Center works under the direction of the Kennewick Public Facilities District. The KPFD also has an agreement with the City of Kennewick to oversee the Toyota Center and Toyota Arena. The KPFD hired VenuWorks (formerly Compass Facility Management) to run the day-to-day operations of the venues. The three facilities have come into their own over the past few years with the mix of events that use these buildings.

The synergy of the facilities feeds into each other to make a seamless location to do almost anything. If you have a convention, conference, concert, family show, or basketball, hockey or football game, this is the place to bring your event. We have grown in many ways over the past few years, and some of the accomplishments have had a national impact from right here in the Tri-Cities.

The KPFD has maintained the funding needs of the operations so well that in 2008 it did not need to use any reserves to run the facility. This was one of the biggest goals the KPFD wanted to accomplish in its first five years of operation of the convention center. The Three Rivers Convention Center opened its doors in June 2004 and is coming up on the fifth anniversary. The convention center also has completed its first season with the Mid-Columbia Symphony, which proved to be a huge success. The convention center has signed a five-year agreement with the symphony to continue to provide an elegant facility for their performances.

You cannot talk about the Toyota Center without saying what great teams we have in the Tri-Cities. Last year, the Americans accomplished a franchise first as WHL, US Divisions Champions. The Tri-Cities Fever, of the arena football 2 league, also is a great partner and exciting addition to the live sports that take place right here at home.

The Toyota Center is finishing up its second Broadway Series and looking forward to year three. We recognize the Toyota Center is not a theatre but being sensitive to bringing to town events the community wants, the Toyota Center staff began a partnership with VenuWorks Presents and Jam Theatricals to bring Broadway to the Tri-Cities. With valuable feedback from the community, plans are under way for a smaller set with better sight lines and elevated seating to ensure the events are as good as they can be. More changes will be taking shape in the near future to accommodate the needs of Broadway events.

This year, we were proud to announce that the Toyota Arena is now home to the Tri-City Titans hockey team. This partnership has opened the doors for endless possibilities. The Learn-to-Skate program is growing, due to a well-executed advertising push. The arena also offers public skating sessions, a figure skating school and has recently upgraded its concession area. The Toyota Arena continues to be the most used facility on campus, closing only one day a year.

The VenuWorks staff wants to thank the Tri-Cities for its support in making this year a successful one. We look forward to doing it again.

Source: Tri-City Herald, Progress 2009

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