Opinion: The Avalon Theatre is an important economic driver
Avalon Theatre Foundation
We were surprised when we read Jim Hoffman’s column in last week’s Free Press and would like to correct a few of his assumptions that were incorrect.
The Avalon Theatre is owned by the city of Grand Junction, and therefore belongs to all of us. As a result, all of the partners involved — the city of Grand Junction, the Downtown Development Authority, and the Avalon Theatre Foundation — did their due diligence in getting the project to this point.
The addition to the east of the Avalon, which will house all the amenities the theater was never built with — such as bathrooms on all levels, an elevator, a multipurpose room, dressing rooms, and expanded lobby and concessions — did not “devour” parking. A total of eight parking spots were lost to the renovation and expansion project.
Long before breaking ground on the Avalon, the city of Grand Junction performed a parking study to make sure the parking needs of an expanded performing arts complex would be met. The study showed that parking available exceeded parking requirements. There are 1,700 public parking spots within four blocks of the Avalon Theatre, 700 of which are within two blocks. There is not a lack of parking in downtown.
The city did look at building a new performing arts facility and found that to build one from the ground up elsewhere would cost upwards of $20 million and would not have qualified for the $1.5 million in grants we received because of the Avalon’s location and synergy within the urban footprint of downtown.
The current design was based on two things: The first is that the building be ADA accessible — which it was not; and the second, that the theater support itself based on a business plan which included three revenue streams — the theater, the multi-purpose room, and the rooftop terrace. All of these things are accomplished in this $9.6 million renovation package.
We are thrilled to be months away from a grand reopening and have absolutely no doubt that the Avalon will prove to be an important economic driver in our community, as well as provide cultural opportunities for our children that they otherwise would not have access to.
We still need the support of the community to wrap this baby up! Buy a seat, leave a legacy. Every dollar counts.
For more information or to donate, please visit our website at http://www.avalontheatrefoundation.org.
Robin Brown is the development director for the Avalon Cornerstone Project.
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