Printed letters, July 12, 2012
A recent Daily Sentinel opinion piece by Krystyn Hartman, encouraging development of the Avalon Theatre, is timely and worthy of serious consideration.
Calling her readers to notice Houston’s marvelous venues built there over the years is appropriate.
Some who live in Houston and enthusiastically support the arts in many forms take issue with their home being called “the oil patch.” But the label is suitable and commonly used because the oil and gas industry is what generated the wealth for huge contributions from companies and from successful families in the energy business.
The result is on par with old money in the Northeast that has built and provided for opera houses, theaters, symphony halls and art museums.
Hartman is correct that development of the Avalon is a sort of litmus test to see if the citizens of Grand Junction, Mesa County and surrounding areas are ready to support a modest and practical performing arts center.
Success of the Avalon may encourage deeper corporate and personal pockets to appear in the future with contributions for an even more pleasing scheme. Why not The Grand Encana Theatre or The Haliburton Performing Arts Centre?
What a fine opportunity to make the Avalon and its performances become vital assets for Grand Junction! Perhaps some presentations can be used as part of an expanded curriculum for public and private schools, bringing fine performing arts to students.
The doubters of this proposed project at the Avalon might be surprised, too, at the support they garner from neighboring towns and counties that are quietly cheering on this limited but noble project. Believe it: All will benefit.
Patrons of the arts deserve more than Avalon offers
According to letters to the Sentinel, it appears others also see the folly in pouring millions of dollars into the Avalon Theatre in its current location.
The Avalon is not a grand opera house, adorned with statues, murals and chandeliers. It is an outdated Saturday-afternoon movie theater that featured weekly series, plus Gene Autry and Tom Mix movies.
Why is there such a strong backing to save it? Exactly what is being saved? Any dressmaker will tell you it’s easier to start with a pattern and new fabric than to tear out and redo.
Are the promoters of this the same ones who established back-in parking and those Willie Wonka street signs? It certainly appears as though that is the situation.
Parking is impossible when there is a special event. I have never parked in the parking garage because it is always full. Parking elsewhere is a real challenge.
The people of Mesa County deserve a venue that is convenient to attend, pleasing to the eye, sufficient, offering close parking, etc. The Avalon can claim none of these things.
If you build it, they will come.
Library’s renovation project needs more public scrutiny
My concern is how the library is going about its renovation/expansion project. It seems to be so secretive.
No community-needs assessment was done; 30 people showed up at an open house in January that was poorly publicized; and the idea was launched, to my knowledge, in November 2011.
I, for one, do not want the library to spend money on a Band-Aid fix that is the vision of the library director and not the community’s.
I went to the meeting of library’s board of trustees July 6. I was allowed to express my concerns, but there was no place in the agenda to discuss the public’s concerns. I patiently sat through the rest of the meeting, but when the project manager said tying in the new mechanical systems to the old was going to be a “nasty” job, my curiosity was piqued.
He hastily corrected himself, but the seed was sown.
Now, I’m really concerned about this folly. There have been only a few months between the inception of this project and the projected start of construction. It seems like things are going too quickly — mistakes will be made. Customer service will be compromised and people may lose jobs. The children of the county will be the most affected — the children’s center space will be reduced by 20 percent. In fact, even with the expansion, there is a net loss of public space. This is not the right time to take on a worthless, expensive renovation.
Thursday evening at 6 p.m. the library’s board of trustees will meet to approve the move of library services to the old Ashley Furniture building. If you’re at all interested in money being spent on this “nasty” project, I recommend you attend.
I’m in favor of building a new building in a few years that is technologically advanced to accommodate the next new things on the digital horizon. I will support that plan with my taxes and individual donations. I’m also very in favor of including the community in this vision.