Posts tagged ‘Slocum House Theater’

April 15, 2012

Vancouver Closes Slocum House Theater, While Calling for Creation of a Performing Arts Center (Updated)

by lewwaters

It was just this past March 16, 2012 that Vancouver, Washington Mayor, Tim Leavitt, stood before an audience in the recently restored Kiggin’s Theater and said, “Only because owner Bill Leigh pursued his dream to restore this landmark, are we today able to enjoy Mayor Kiggins vision for the performing arts” in his 2012 State of the City speech.

Also in that speech, the Mayor stated, “I pledged we would work toward redevelopment of the empty Block 10, here near the heart of downtown. In this economy, that has been difficult. But we know that reuse of this property could enhance downtown. So, I’ll soon be working with a group of stakeholders to re-energize the block. And, we will continue to explore new ideas, like a performing arts center.”

Towards the end of the speech, speaking of future possibilities for the city he listed “Establishment of an arts and entertainment district downtown, building even greater vibrancy in our historic heart.”

There is little doubt that “performing arts” is a vital core of Vancouver, especially in revitalizing the downtown district. And knowing how vital the “performing arts” are to downtown, how contradictory it is to see the city pressuring the existing and long standing “performing arts” Slocum House Theater Company out of the home they have had for decades, painstakingly moved to and restored at its decades long location by an all volunteer group of citizens in the southwest corner of Esther Short Park specifically to host the “performing arts.”

The public furor over the city’s plan to raise the Theaters rent, use fees by nearly 400% died down as the city “granted” the theater a 90 day extension on their lease early in January 2012.

Shortly after, the Theater Company issued a press release announcing the March 11, 2012 closing.

Even though the city claims ownership of the property, I am told that prior to 2002, “the only thing the city did was to paint the outside, fix a few plumbing problems and for some reason pay the water bill.”

read more »

December 18, 2011

City of Vancouver To Slocum House Theater, “Bah Humbug”

by lewwaters

For the past 45 years, Slocum House Theater has been performing community plays in the renovated Italianate villa style home since it was saved from the wrecking ball and moved to its current location in Esther Short Park by volunteers of the Old Slocum House Company in 1966. Volunteers of the Old Slocum House Theater Company with cooperation from the Fort Vancouver Historical Society accomplished the renovation of the then century old home in 1972.

Money was raised for the project by presenting plays and manning an automobile license station. Currently, the Theater shares the building with the Farmers Market, who maintains an office upstairs.

The Non-Profit Theater Company leases the home from the City of Vancouver, paying $635 a month with the City responsible for repairs to the building, an arrangement that has been beneficial to the community for many years and charges a general admission price of $13 for a play, $11 for seniors and children 12 and under.

We also know that the city, struggling during this continuing “Great Recession” is experiencing budgetary problems. Some are of their own making many feel and some due to the depressed economy. Everywhere we seem to look, taxes and fees are being raised to cover the expenses of the city and to continue pursuing expensive projects many citizens feel are unnecessary.

read more »