Construction begins on the Avalon Theatre in historic Grand Junction
Though construction on Grand Junction’s Avalon Theatre kicked off with a ground-breaking ceremony Thursday, Aug. 1, there are currently no plans to disrupt traffic on historic Main Street.
“It’s business as usual!” said Downtown Partnership Spokesman Aaron Hoffman.
Hoffman also noted that FCI, the local construction contractor used by the city, “is being very helpful in staging their equipment and materials in the back lot of the Avalon, so there are no plans to close Main Street in the foreseeable future.”
That said, there will be some closures and work-arounds while the 90-year-old theater receives much needed operational upgrades.
According to City of GJ Project Engineer Lee Cooper, the alley directly behind the Avalon Theatre will be closed to the public for safety reasons.
“We are going to make accommodations to the alley to still allow delivery vehicles to get in and out of the alley,” Cooper said in an email.
Cooper added that “Main Street and 7th Street will mostly remain unaffected,” but there “will be a couple times during the project that we’ll have to get into 7th Street to install a new water service to the Avalon addition and install new underground conduit for City fiber optic lines.”
FCI also needs to “temporarily close the sidewalk in front of the Avalon for a few days while they upgrade the fire supply line into the theater,” Cooper continued, though plans for that work have not yet been finalized.
Avalon Cornerstone Project Director Robin Brown recently said she expects the revitalization of the theater to take approximately 300 days from start to finish.
Grand Junction City Council approved a $7.6 million construction project for the Avalon Theatre in June. Currently, funds on hand for the upgrade reach approximately $7.2 million. After lengthy city council discussions as to the necessity and price of the proposed upgrades, the City of Grand Junction committed $3 million to address structural issues with the city-owned building. Another $3 million was set aside by the Downtown Development Authority (an equal partner in the project), and additional private funding is still required to complete planned Phase 1 construction (which will include ADA-accessibility and safety upgrades, along with new, expanded seating (967 to 1,100), bathrooms, new lighting and sound, upgraded acoustics and more).
“Checks are coming in every day,” Brown said. “ … All of those people who said they wouldn’t give until they knew the city council was committed were true to their word. Many of our donors have agreed to speed up their pledges, and one day at the mailbox I found $90,000 in checks! That was a good day.”
For more information on how to donate to the Avalon Cornerstone Project, visit http://www.avalontheatrefoundation.org.
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