Special Meeting Ends with Clear Vision for Avalon Theatre
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. On Friday the Grand Junction City Council held a special meeting to discuss the fate of the Avalon Theatre. Last week, city council members were split in their votes of whether or not to commit to the $3 million promised by the last council.
The split vote took community members by surprise, "We were shocked," said Pam Barnes, store manager at Heirlooms For Hospice.
Uncertain enough for some to finally reach out to council members, "I had an extra stamp at home so I said ok! I use the snail mail," said resident Michael Furess.
The council discussed how to move forward with the $3 million dollars originally promised to the project.
At the meeting council member Marty Chazen said "Promises mean something, even if they were promises made by a prior council, and if it may have been an ill-advised promise."
"I had no intention of saying we're going to take that $3 million back, that would not be my vote," said council member Phyllis Norris.
Council member Rick Brainard said, "Really long term what I believe the Avalon is a piece of a much bigger picture as far as culture venues within the community."
They discussed the three building options. In a nutshell plan A funds all the renovations originally promised, plan B funds a large majority of them and plan C funds the least. At the end, council members unanimously agreed on plan B.
Robin Brown, development director for the Avalon Cornerstone Project, said, "So what plan B is it builds the shell of the addition which houses all the ADA and safety upgrades, it also puts a multipurpose room in, but it doesn't fill it out. So it's a nice bridge to get to the finished project, without having all the money."
"This is a tough job and we have to make tough choices, but the data spoke that to move forward with the Avalon was the right thing to do," said Brainard.
Brown also said, "Because of the time and the support from the community, yes, we changed council members views."
Brown is confident that by next spring they will be celebrating their grand opening, "I couldn't have asked for a better birthday present, and I didn't see it coming, so I'm just thrilled!"
While city council members agreed to move forward with plan B, they will need to make that decision final at Wednesday's city council meeting.