Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More thoughts on proposals for The Senator

The Sun paper is asking for comments about the 4 proposals the BDC received on The Senator. I posted one, but I know from experience that the Sun seems to have an agenda with regard to The Senator, so I'm posting my comment here in its entirety:

The Senator Theatre is a significant historic landmark on the National Register, and it's clear from the way the BDC is handling this process that they don't understand its value as a piece of history and art, or its potential to generate tourism dollars. If they did, they would be consulting historic theatre experts from around the country on how best to proceed. Some version of a community based non-profit model has worked well for historic theatres all over the country. Indeed, among the theatres that have won the annual award from the League of Historic American Theatres, based here in Baltimore, all past winners take donations from the public, non-profit style.

Among the four proposals submitted:

The Lofts proposal from J R Owens is a joke. I can't believe anyone would take it seriously. I think the whole immediate neighborhood will unite against that one.

The proposal from Charles owner Cusack would butcher the historic building, dividing the auditorium and destroying the original bathrooms. Definitely a no go.

The PUPKids Theatre proposal probably doesn't have the money, since Enoch Cook III was at the pre-proposal conference asking if the city would fix the roof, because he only has the money to lease the theatre for a few months. So that won't work, unless he's since gotten financing.

The WTMD/Towson proposal shows some promise, but I would not be able to support it without seeing the full proposal, specifically their plans for restoring and caring for this precious historic facility. The mix of programming they are proposing is very similar to what The Senator is currently doing, and what Senator volunteers have been proposing all along.

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