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Opinion: Avalon Theatre is ‘a huge asset for all of us’

Ken Johnson
CONNECTING THE DOTS
Free Press Opinion Columnist
Robin Brown, development director of the Avalon Cornerstone Project, is seen giving a tour of the Avalon Theatre recently.
Ken Johnson |

Two weeks ago I was one of the really lucky people in town to get a tour of our soon-to-be-completed Avalon Theatre.

Robin Brown — the talent in charge of finding the last $400,000 of the Avalon Theatre Foundation’s commitment to save and modernize the 92-years-old hulk — was the tour guide.

Brown sure knows the details and the drama. With smiles and chitchat, she got our small group of Legends Sculptures volunteers through the structure. (The Legends group was also downtown to meet sculptor Karen Jobe Templeton and pick out the exact place the Enstrom Candies sculpture will be installed. It’s just across Seventh Street from the Avalon. The unveiling and party is set for 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 26.)

The new Avalon has 1,150 brand new seats, new carpet in the aisles, a new sound system and new digital film equipment. According to musicians, the new acoustics are sweet; I’ll bet you can hear a single flute note clear up in the upper balcony.

There are also new restrooms on every floor of both the old building and the new, ultra-modern addition toward Seventh Street.

One nice thing about the recent Legends tour is that Robin will be seeing four checks that I know about, and probably more. At least two will be for $2,000 or $2,500, the price for stone tiles (with family or company details engraved in them). The tiles are large, about two feet square, each engraved by Carlson Memorials as a donation. Those tiles are part of the open-air deck on the third floor of the addition. You get a great view of the Main Street Shopping Park, views on up Main toward 12th Street, and of course both directions on Seventh Street.

(Frankly, I was not in love with the deck idea, but it is stunning. So yes, I’ve changed my mind — which happens often these days as I stumble into facts instead of “knowledgeable” comments.)

This high-dollar cleanup and expansion of the venerable Avalon is going to be a huge asset for all of us. I’m hoping that another 92 years downstream our grandchildren love it still.

One thing to think about before the new Avalon opens for business on Sept. 20 … if everyone in the community donated $25, we would raise over $1 million.

I’ll bet Robin would take your money today.

GJ Free Press columnist Ken Johnson is founder of the Grand Junction Free Press and former owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. He spends his time between the Grand Valley and California.


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