Ground broken on Avalon renovation

A ceremonial groundbreaking takes place Thursday afternoon at the Avalon Theatre at Seventh and Main streets in downtown Grand Junction. The City Council approved a construction contract of $7.6 million in mid-June.

It’s a parking lot now, but come spring the eastern end of the Avalon Theatre should have a gleaming new entrance and added space for the historic venue.

After years of community members wishing for needed renovations at the aging facility, local officials conducted the ceremonial groundbreaking on Thursday.

Construction costs for the $7.6 million project will include an upgraded heating and cooling system, better acoustics, space for an elevator and infrastructure for bathrooms.

It will include the shell for a complete remodel, but more funds are needed for the first phase.

Since Grand Junction city councilors approved a construction contract of $7.6 million in mid-June, fundraising efforts from grants and individuals have been coming in at a steady clip, according to Robin Brown, development director for the fundraising effort, the Avalon Cornerstone Project.

“The really big game-changer for us was when the City Council awarded the contract,” Brown said.

The Cornerstone Project needs to raise another $1 million to meet its obligations, Brown said.

Recently the group was awarded a $50,000 Boettcher Foundation grant. Private donors also have been pitching in, with $90,000 coming in on a single day, she said.

Brown said a number of donors attached notes to checks saying they were waiting for the green light from the City Council before donating.

The Cornerstone Project will find out in mid-August whether it will receive a grant from the El Pomar Foundation, Brown said.

Other fundraisers and opportunities will be forthcoming, Brown said.

For example, donors can purchase a chair from the Avalon for $2,500. Supporters can also join a campaign to attract 1,000 to donate $1,000.

More generous donors who contribute more than six figures can receive naming rights to a room or an area of the remodeled Avalon.

“This really has been in the works for a decade,” Brown said of the remodel.


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