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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spearfish Subsidizes Downtown Movies

The Spearfish City Council made an interesting nod toward the importance of the arts and downtown development last week. At their April 20 meeting, the city approved the Spearfish Arts Center's request for $13,000 to purchase a film screen and projection system for the Matthews Opera House. SAC exec Debora Smoot tells RCJ that the equipment will allow the group to host film festivals as well as show old-time movies, documentaries, and other non-big-release productions for the community and visitors. The downtown moviehouse idea has been in the works for years, but got a kick in the pants from tour companies calling to ask what Spearfish was going to replacce the now-closed Passion Play with.

Spearfish recognizes as well as any town in South Dakota that public investment in the arts brings a good return, culturally and often financially. Perhaps Madison and the LAIC should take note: what better way to start a lasting downtown renovation than converting the vacant Masons' building into a downtown movie theater?

14 comments:

  1. I like the idea. A real experience to see a movie and use the space for other things. Even the State Theater had plays on their stage. I feel like a teenager again: There's nothing to do in this town! Not enough places to shop, eat, or have adult fun. It's the right time to work on downtown revitalization.

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  2. It would take some work, but the LAIC can't have spent all two million out of the Forward Madison fund, can they? If there's even half a million left, we could rock out on the Masons' building and have ourselves a working movie theater and community arts center by next year.

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  3. That would be good idea, but that building was purchased by some private business owners in Madison. The plans they have for it are still up in the air. If you have been in that building, you know if needs alot of work, way more than a half million could provide.

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  4. I know the owner. I know the purchase price was well under half a million. I've been inside. I know it's a wreck. But a half million could replace a lot of floor boards, patch a lot of wall, put a lot of people to work, and get things moving in the right direction. Vision, anyone?

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  5. I asked a just-retired cement man about the rear, and he said the repair is not that difficult. It needs weatherization and probably a roof. Water damage to the floors are not that difficult to fix, then the old kitchen area could be redone and the rest is mostly clean up and painting. It had many updates for the restaurant. This reminds me of Kennedy Hall when people just wanted to have a new building. But, any building has to have a legitimate purpose that pencils out. And those two buildings to the south would probably be needed for a parking area. It could be the cornerstone for an improved downtown, if people really wanted it to happen. I'm sure it will be, one way or another.

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  6. The Masonic Temple building is not worth saving. We can pussy-foot around all we want and hope for a miracle, but in all practicality, this building served its time. Raze it and either put expanded DQ parking there or another cornerstone building to house new businesses for Madison. How about another "green" building to compliment the new ICAP and Heartland buildings that will soon be erected? Let's use this opportunity to teach our next generation how to build for a "green" future with conservation of resources and perhaps reclaimed materials from the old Temple.

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  7. Anon 5:07, Much as it pains me to think of losing the Masons building (and I hope that doesn't happen until all options are exhausted), I like your thinking on the green cornerstone building (I'm not at all excited about just additional parking). Great idea!

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  8. Green, green, green. I'm getting sick of it. I'm all for taking care of our environment, but this is getting overdone.

    I tried to do my part and brought a green household cleaner. It didn't work, plain and simple. So it kinda turned me off to all this green stuff.

    If Mason's needs to be replaced, fine. I personally thought it would have made a wonderful studio and store for John Green, much more accessible, easily seen, etc. But that ship has sailed. If the building is past saving, and there comes a time when some things have outlived their usefulness, replace it with something else. Just please don't alway come back to gren, green, green.

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  9. "Green, green, green. I'm getting sick of it. I'm all for taking care of our environment, but this is getting overdone."

    I know. All that reducing landfill waste, pollution, and energy bills while creating beautiful buildings, increased local economic development, and a more sustainable future for the next generation...such a bummer.

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  10. Great idea Cory, but why is it the governments job? If it is worthwhile to do, round up private funding!
    drk

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  11. Spearfish apparently thinks it's a reasonable exercise of government action. Adam Smith might, too: a downtown cultural center could be a valuable public work that no individual entrepreneur will sink money into but which would provide worthwhile benefits for the community (cultural growth, increased tourism, more downtown business) if we all pitched in through public action.

    Smith identifies the following as the third duty of the government: "the duty of erecting and maintaining certain public works and certain public institutions which it can never be for the interest of any individual, or small number of individuals, to erect and maintain; because the profit could never repay the expence to any individual or small number of individuals, though it may frequently do much more than repay it to a great society." [Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, IV.9.51].

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  12. How is putting up a green building increased local development vs just putting up a building that is energy efficient without touting green-ness. I am all for taking care of our plant, I said that. I am just sick of green and global warming that isn't proven to be anything more than the usual cycling of the earth, and using this to push higher energy taxes, less drilling for oil, etc.

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  13. Sounds like you're splitting semantic hairs, Anon. Whether you call it "green" or not, energy-efficient projects are good practical policy. And in terms of development, green is "in"—it's good marketing! Conservation is responsible stewardship for future generations. I don't know how you can be sick of that.

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  14. I'm not sick of conserving. I am sick of green, and Gore spouting his unproven global warming (while not walking the walk BTW), and green this and green that. I just don't know why a building has to be touted as green as if that is going to bring in more jobs or more economic development. It won't. It's a building, and if it's replacing an already constructed building, it definitely is not bringing in economic development past the actual construction. Are more employees being hired just because the building is green? Is a product supposed to work better because it's green? No, probably won't work as well actually.

    All this hype does is allow for more gov't growth, higher energy costs, less use of available resources, less freedom for individuals.

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