Avalon survey: Locals want to keep it simple

Preliminary results of a survey given earlier this year to local entertainment promoters and enthusiasts show support for various functions at the Avalon Theatre, as long as the venue doesn’t change too much.

The Downtown Development Authority and Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra paid consultants Westlake Reed $75,000 to create a business and operations plan for the Avalon.

Information gathering for the plan included the survey, which asked how much people would be willing to pay to rent the Avalon for events, what types of events they’d rent the building for, what events they’d like to see there, and how much they’d be willing to pay for a ticket.

People looking to rent the building for a school or dance performance said they’d prefer to pay a small fee, whereas fine arts entertainment companies such as the symphony were willing to pay more, Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Heidi Hoffman Ham said. Ticket price responses were in a similar vein.

While the rent and ticket prices ultimately will determine what renovations, if any, the DDA, symphony and city of Grand Junction can afford at the Avalon, Ham said few survey respondents want major changes to the historic building.

“There were several statements that people were not looking for this to be a cutting-edge performance center,” Ham said. “They want it to be high quality, but they were saying it doesn’t have to be the fanciest, it just needs to work” for various performances.

“They’re not expecting it to become the be-all, end-all opera house.”

Survey respondents also supported keeping the Avalon as a multipurpose venue, according to Ham.

“Obviously it can’t be everything to everybody, but we look to use it for as many things as possible,” she said.

Westlake Reed representatives are scheduled to return to Grand Junction the third week of May to discuss the survey results and help local stakeholders in the Avalon nail down a plan of action.

Ham said the building is “structurally sound” but may need repairs and renovations to better accommodate some events.

“I think it’s beginning to lay a really good groundwork,” Ham said of the consulting firm’s work.


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