In the past, I've argued with smart growthers in Montgomery County, Maryland who wanted to remove the parking lot from the "park and shop" in Silver Spring's Downtown, when that element is key to the historic significance of the complex.
To me, historic integrity was more important than making the point about automobile-centricity. Plus, a parking lot doesn't always have to be for parking...
Although, instead of allocating the space for parking, they could use the space more as an events space. Surprisingly, parking lots are re-purposable.
The Lido Theater in Newport Beach, California remains privately owned, but keeping it open as a single screen cinema remains a struggle.
Another thought, were I to win one of those many hundred million dollar lottery tickets, would be to create a fund to buy and/or support the continuation of various historic theater buildings across the country, creating an organization to provide support, technical assistance, even the creation of a national booking circuit.
Anyway, I have a bunch of pieces about typically missing elements in culture master plans, and how such planning initiatives should be broadened significantly. Although I don't think I have a separate piece on cinemas.
Add saving drive in theaters to county arts plans: the Redwood Drive-in in Salt Lake County. I hadn't mentioned drive in theaters. As metropolitan areas have urbanized drive in theaters have mostly been demolished, as their large footprints have been attractive for redevelopment.
And yes, they are definitely a car-focused use type, and typically this blog isn't focused on that, but history is history.
Patrons watch "Avengers: Infinity War" on a Saturday night in early May, 2018 at the Redwood Drive-In Theatre in West Valley City. Photo: Josh Terry, Salt Lake Deseret News.
The Redwood Drive-In in West Valley City, Utah is now owned by a real estate developer who wants to convert the property into a housing development ("Developer pulls plans for WVC drive-in theater, swap meet site after community opposition
From the standpoint of urban planning we have a conflict of interests. In a booming housing market, adding to housing supply is a priority. OTOH, saving one of the last examples of a significant use type, from both an arts and historic preservation standpoint, is in order too. In this case, I vote to save the drive in.
In a cinema element in a community cultural plan, saving and operating various types of cinema facilities ought to be considered.
Hull's Drive in from the air.The Hull's Drive-in in Lexington, Virginia is a nonprofit
. It turns out that there is a nonprofit drive in in Virginia. The original owner died, the next door property owner bought it but didn't have the money to maintain it, and the community came up with the money to buy it from him and operate it going forward, around 2000.
Salt Lake County is best practice for owning and operating arts facilities
. Salt Lake County is a national best example for financial support for the arts, as a portion of the sales tax, called ZAP
, for Zoo/Arts/Parks, is used to support cultural activities and venues.
The Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center is a new concept for Salt Lake County, which has built a cultural empire with its four venues in downtown Salt Lake City: Abravanel Hall, the home of the Utah Symphony; the Capitol Theatre, where Ballet West and Utah Opera perform; the Eccles Theatre, which plays host to touring Broadway productions and major concerts; and the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, home to such groups as Plan-B Theatre, Repertory Dance Theatre and Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.
The County also owns the Salt Palace convention center and other events centers outside of Salt Lake (including the place where I got my vaccine shots, the Mountain America Expo Center). Some of these facilities are managed by the national firm SMG.
So having a drive in theater as one of these assets isn't a stretch.
The Salt Lake County program is complemented by other efforts.
The County Library system created an events space and amphitheater at their main branch, which supports various meetings and events also.
Separately, the local Salt Lake Film Society
runs cinemas including one in a c. 1950 building in the 9th and 9th neighborhood called the Tower Theatre, which also contains a video rental facility as another form of cultural preservation ("Why Tower Theater Video Rentals Thrive While Blockbusters Rentals Fail
," Utah Stories).
I'm not sure if city and county monies went towards buying these facilities. Likely SLFS gets funding from ZAP and the city.
In a cultural master plan, organizations like SLFS need to be acknowledged and included, as stewards of key cultural assets.
Labels: arts-culture; concerts-music; cinema, cultural planning, historic preservation