And verily the pie did shine down upon them...
Do YOU have an extra $500,000 to spare?
If so, then you’re infinitely more qualified to talk about doing “something” with the old Lincoln Theater than the people who are currently doing so.
I toss out the $500,000 figure because that seems like a reasonable baseline figure for what it would cost to actually be able to do anything with the Lincoln. That’s about $250,000 for purchasing it in the first place, then another $200,000 to convert it to digital. Then I round up with $50,000 to account for various upgrades and repairs that would be necessary to make it a little bit less of a rundown, dark, sticky pit.
Now, no one would be happier than I would to see something positive happen with the Lincoln. But the things being tossed out now just seem completely, painfully unrealistic.
Former Port Angeles resident Rick Shaw is one of these fantasy purveyors. He wants to show old movies (to get around the no compete clause) and Seahawks games on Sundays. Well, okay. But you still need to buy it, and convert it to digital. Which brings us right back to Mr. Half-a-Million. Then there’s licensing fees for the films, licensing fees for the games, advertising, utilities, staffing, etc. All of this is against the backdrop of trying to entice people to leave their homes and pay money to watch these things in a dingy, nasty old theater. Even with my dog crowding me on the couch, my house is a lot, lot more comfortable than the Lincoln Theater, and a lot of people I know have TVs even bigger than mine. So why are people going to pay to watch old movies (which they can do at home) or football games (which they can do at home)? I don’t know that they are. We know people are plenty pissed off about local politics; try getting them to come out to a meeting, though.
We're fighting a LOT of inertia in Port Angeles, people...
Now, maybe Mr. Shaw has money to burn to make the Lincoln into some sort of playland for himself. That I don’t know. But I do know that you generally aren’t making huge money working as a behavioral analyst – especially one who is early in his career (Shaw is only 41). Shaw and his wife also bought their house at a foreclosure sale – which again, doesn’t speak to someone with a lot of spare cash floating about. We’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath.
Rick Shaw: Secret Santa? Maybe, but...
Then there’s the pie-in-the-sky idea floated by Dan McGuire, who envisions a non-profit running it, pointing out “Creating a new nonprofit 501(c)3 is relatively easy and inexpensive.” He goes on to say, “The first order of business is to secure the property. If a bank would finance the purchase with a 20 percent down payment, we’re probably looking at something somewhere north of $50,000.” Then he throws in another $100,000 to “develop the facility as the board of directors (of the proposed non-profit) sees fit.” He sees that money coming from a loan or a grant. There’s a lot of “ifs” there, Dan.
And Dan…If you’re going to run it as a movie theater, there’s also the additional $200,000 to convert the theater to digital. If you’re going to run it as some sort of event center or concert venue, then you’ll have to tear out the wall between the two downstairs theaters, repair and restore that space, buy new theater seats, etc., etc. That would likely cost even more than $200,000. Just because the first step – Hey! We can form a non-profit really quickly! – is easy, doesn’t mean the rest of it will just fall into place. If you think raising money to make it all happen will be easy, too, well…I guess you’re not paying attention to the local arts scene. PALOA anyone? PAFAC anyone? The existing arts groups here struggle mightily – I don’t think adding yet another one to the mix will change that. It might even breed resentment from some of the other existing groups, already fighting for funds, grants, etc.
Again, I would be delighted to see a realistic plan for doing something worthwhile with the Lincoln put forward. But all I’ve seen thus far are some wildly unrealistic and half-formed ideas. I can’t get excited over that. It just seems like typical slapdash Port Angeles, too little, too late, with a pinch of “we’ll get a grant to pay for it” pixie dust sprinkled on top.
People, whether it’s politics or arts, no outside “angels” are going to come save us. And grasping at half-formed ideas without doing due diligence isn’t going to work, either. Sure, it’s “easy” to form a non-profit. Sure, it’s possible there might be a grant out there to help get “something” done. But how likely are those outcomes? Are they realistic? Is Port Angeles the type of community that could and would really support the ideas being proposed? If so, why haven’t they happened already? These are tough questions, but they have to be asked.
Yeah, yeah - I'll be ready to go to that
City Council meeting/fundraiser/school play/whatever
in just a minute, baby...