Avalon needs support from city

The city of Grand Junction should think very hard about the ramifications of not supporting the Avalon Theatre.

This paper reported Wednesday the theatre’s intention of scaling back its fund-raising target. While it’s exciting that the theater still wants to make some improvements — albeit smaller than before — it’s not getting a lot of support from the city.

City officials have made no secret of their desire to see the Avalon become someone else’s problem.

We worry where this could lead. As the Grand Valley continues to grow and change at a rapid pace, there are some things that we should hold onto as a community. Our oldest cultural entertainment venue ought to be one of them.

Grand Junction is lucky to have a Main Street such as it has — one that draws retailers, shoppers, commerce and entertainment from all over the country.

Main Street is the heart of Grand Junction, and the Avalon Theatre is the cornerstone of Main Street. A city that’s interested in holding onto its cultural roots would be well advised to support its only historic theater — particularly one as charming and centrally located as the Avalon.

Many cities across the country see the importance of maintaining and nurturing their historic theaters — the fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta, the Zachary Scott Theater in Austin and many others. They have managed to maintain a thriving cultural center in the historic parts of their cities even while rampant growth pushes people farther and farther out.

Other cities and towns in America’s heartland have turned their backs on their historical treasures in favor of more modern developments — like strip malls. Many of those historic downtowns are now ghost towns, with empty storefronts and beautiful old theaters housing only memories.

Without the city’s active support, the activities at the Avalon will continue to be scaled back, and our city will risk losing one of its greatest treasures.

It doesn’t take much, but it does take a commitment from our leaders who have the power to do something about it. Let’s keep our Grand Dame of Main Street young and bright.


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