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City eyes sponsorship rights for Avalon

The statue of Dalton Trumbo in his bathtub makes a perfect desk for plans as renovation of the Avalon progresses Monday in downtown Grand Junction. As fundraising continues for the project, the City Council is hammering out details to naming rights for the historic venue at 645 Main St.

Construction continues Monday on the Avalon, which is tentatively set to reopen June 1, 2014. The historic theater was built in 1923 and is undergoing a $7.2 million renovation.

Can you picture your businesses’ name gracing the front of the Avalon Theatre?

That can be yours for at least a cool $4 million.

How about having just one room of the renovated Avalon, such as the rooftop terrace, the concessions area or the elevator with a plaque nearby emblazoned with your company’s name?

Those options are much more reasonable by comparison, and will set you back only $50,000 to $1 million.

Fundraising for a renovated theater is under way as Grand Junction’s city councilors are hammering out details to naming rights for the historic venue at 645 Main St.

A committee that compiled some initial ideas was sent back to the drawing board Monday night as councilors requested more particulars, such as a schedule that offered donors tiered terms for their dollars.

That might include such things as a mezzanine lobby in your name for 10 years for $100,000, but for $100,000 more, that term can be bumped to 20 years.

“Sometimes people will respond a little more to their ego,” said Debbie Kovalik, executive director of the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau. “The length of time something is named for someone also makes a difference. Indefinitely is not a good idea.”

Already the Avalon Theatre Foundation has raised nearly $1.4 million, and has committed grants to the tune of $400,000, though some of those funds are spread out over three more years. The foundation is in need of an additional $680,067 to meet its $2.1 million commitment to Grand Junction, which is due by June.

The city also is in the running for a $1 million Department of Local Affairs grant, but word on whether it will get that won’t come for another month.

The council approved a total spending of $7.6 million for the first phase, which includes its direct contribution of $3.1 million. In the hopes that the Avalon Foundation could raise $1 million, the total project is estimated at $8.1 million. Grand Junction’s Downtown Development Authority also kicked in $3 million.

Councilors are having naming rights guidelines drafted to include donations from individuals, businesses and corporations. Also to be determined is how naming rights can be transferred. Other opportunities for advertising or having an area named after them or their business also could be on tickets, in bathroom stalls and on the picture screen. Large donors who have already contributed will be asked whether they want an area in their name.

Having a schedule of donation levels that correspond to the grandness of an area also can be an opportunity to “upsell” those donations, Kovalik said. For instance, if someone donates $30,000, asking for an additional $20,000 for the opportunity to have a room named after them could be a big selling point, she said.

The naming committee is considering creating a donor wall that distinguishes gift sizes, a tactic common in other capital campaigns.

For more information and to donate to the first phase of the Avalon Cornerstone Project, visit the Avalon Theatre Foundation at


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