State sequel

12/22/2012

New theater plan worthy of rave reviews downtown.

New theater plan worthy of rave reviews downtown.

Garden City officials had two notable proposals for use of the State Theater in downtown Garden City, and in the end made a sensible decision.

During their recent meeting, city commissioners endorsed a plan to turn the historic structure into a privately funded, 400-seat theater-in-the-round venue for concerts and performances year-round.

Holcomb resident Mark Pamplin proposed the estimated $3 million renovation project that would gut the existing interior of the theater and create a central stage surrounded by seating on the first floor. The second floor would be reserved for rehearsal and office space.

One beauty of the ambitious revitalization plan would be in being able to accommodate events organized by the Garden City Recreation Commission, which currently uses the theater on occasion for various productions.

The Rec also made a proposal to the city to take over the property and continue using it as a performing arts facility for community theater, after-school drama club activities, movie nights and concerts. The Rec plan included $591,000 in costs to the city for renovation.

By choosing Pamplin's proposal, the commission instead opted to put the property back on the tax rolls — a move local taxpayers should appreciate.

A renovated State Theater open year-round also would give people more of a reason to frequent the downtown district.

Credit the city for not giving up on the historic theater built in 1929. By maintaining the facility to the point that it still could accommodate occasional movies, concerts and other events, the State Theater remained viable and now appears ready for another bright future, one fueled by private investment.

Just like movie houses in many downtown districts, the State enjoyed a long, successful run before finally being closed as a movie theater more than a decade ago.

Fast forward to Pamplin's plan, which would depend on season ticket sales to cover annual operating and production costs. The hope is the venue would once again receive enthusiastic public support.

With as much, a nice piece of Garden City history has a shot at a long-running sequel — one good for the downtown district and community as a whole.

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