Thursday, November 1, 2007

Next to the Last Picture Show

If you attended the Sigma Delta Chi Gridiron Show in Rogers last month, you already know what a gem the Victory Theater is. The 1927 building still has a $1.8 million mortgage from the renovation, and the Rogers Little Theater is struggling to pay it off and avoid foreclosure.

In an uncharacteristic turn of vision, Rogers Mayor Steve Womack says he wants to help save the theater, because he believes that the arts are good for the community and that the Victory Theater building is important for the revitalization of downtown Rogers. "We have a stake in downtown Rogers, and we fund Main Street Rogers," he said. "This appears to be another terrific opportunity to preserve the arts in our city, claim ownership of a million-dollar facility, and continue making a valuable and lasting contribution to the Historic Downtown Rogers area," Womack wrote to council members proposing a $500,000 contribution. The city would take ownership of the theater and lease it back to the Rogers Little Theater to continue operating.

Fayetteville might share that vision of flourishing arts and historic preservation, but the city is too broke from sewer cost overruns to purchase and restore the old UARK Theater on Dickson Street. Wouldn't that be a great home for Theatre Squared? Or maybe a shared venue for foreign and independent films sponsored by the Ozark Film Society and a lobby gallery for William Flanagan and other local artists? There's a project for the Chamber if it wants to do something useful and make a contribution to a better community. That will do more for community development and bring in more revenue than the light bulb show.

No comments:

Post a Comment