Long-awaited construction to start on Grand Junction’s Avalon Theatre
It’s finally happening, folks!
Construction on Grand Junction’s historic Avalon Theatre will begin next week with a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, July 25. The 4 p.m. gathering is planned to kick off directly in front of the Avalon on Seventh Street, and everyone is invited.
“We expect construction to last about 300 days, and our plan is to raise the remaining money needed to finish out the shell of the addition during construction so the theater is just closed one time and we don’t have to close again later to finish it,” Avalon Cornerstone Project Director Robin Brown said.
Currently, funds on hand for the project total approximately $7.2 million. After lengthy city council discussions as to the necessity and price of the proposed upgrades, the City of Grand Junction finally committed $3 million to address structural issues with the city-owned building. Another $3 million was given by the Downtown Development Authority (an equal partner in the project), and additional private funding is still needed 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).
“The city approved the $7.6 million project,” Brown said. “That is to finish the theater completely and just add on the shell of the addition. We need another $600,000 to finish out the addition for a Phase 1 project that costs $8.2 million total.”
Fundraising efforts for the Avalon Cornerstone Project have luckily picked up steam since council approved the facility upgrade on June 19, especially in the $1,000 commitments. And the Boettcher Foundation announced its approval of a $50,000 grant for Phase 1 construction on Monday, July 15.
According to the Boettcher Foundation website, its focus is “giving of grants distributed exclusively within the state to benefit Colorado citizens and its important institutions.”
“We also have a pending grant from El Pomar for construction, but won’t hear from them until next month,” Brown noted.
The City of GJ is additionally moving forward on an application for a $1 million grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. City Council’s regular agenda for Wednesday, July 24, confirmed that, if awarded, the grant would be used for Avalon Threatre “site improvements, the multipurpose room, elevator, restrooms, HVAC, and auditorium seating.”
Brown also confirmed that volunteers have so far raised another $100,000 in the past six weeks, and are looking for more ways to raise another million for the project as quickly as possible.
“Because the city approved a larger project than expected, we are asking if any of our donors are willing to speed up their pledges,” Brown said. “Some of our pledges are over three years and we are asking, if they are able, to pay those pledges early so they can go directly to Phase 1 construction to pay the city back.”
For more information on how to donate to the Avalon Cornerstone Project, visit http://www.avalontheatrefoundation.org.
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