Avalon’s rooftop terrace may have to wait awhile
Supporters of renovations to the Avalon Theatre are looking to an upcoming decision by Grand Junction city councilors that will decide the scale of the project.
To date, the Avalon Theatre Foundation has combined commitments of about $6 million from the city’s former City Council and Grand Junction’s Downtown Development Authority to jump-start the project’s first phase. Advocates for the Avalon are hoping the city doesn’t rescind its prior $3 million commitment made mostly by former councilors, now that public donations for the project have not been as plentiful as first promised.
After a construction bid for the project came in at $1.5 million more than anticipated, officials with the Avalon Theatre Foundation worked with the winning contractor FCI and city staff to trim the project, said Robin Brown, development director of the fundraising effort, The Avalon Cornerstone Project.
During Monday’s council workshop, Brown said she’s prepared to present a scaled-back proposal alongside the original project, one that includes multiple phases. Councilors are expected to ratify their decision at Wednesday’s council meeting.
“Currently we have enough money to do the first phase,” Brown said. “Either way, it’s a finished project.”
A thinned-down plan for phase one includes new theater seating, a small addition to the east end, restrooms on both floors that are compatible for people with disabilities, an elevator, and updated heating and cooling systems. It wouldn’t include some of the flashier elements of the plan that have been touted in literature for the Avalon including a glass-encased stairwell and lobby, a rooftop terrace, an expansion of the stage and a multi-purpose room.
City councilors during a meeting in early April hesitated to give the go-ahead on the construction project without having all the funds on hand, not wanting to get stuck with the remainder of the bill. Members of the Avalon Theatre Foundation had raised fewer dollars then they initially anticipated, and some grants they were looking toward had their cycles extended.
Public donations have topped $1.1 million, which includes about 60 donors who have contributed to the “1,000 for $1,000” campaign, Brown said.
She said many donors still are willing to give but want to see movement on the project.
“They’re saying, ‘I’m not giving till I see construction’,” Brown said. “We expect to raise a lot of money once construction is started.”
After Sunday, the theater will be closed until next spring. City workers are prepping the site for septic work and other improvements.
“Come Monday, I am confident, I think, that we will have four positive votes,” Brown said, of the impending council decision.