“A Call to Action” Press Conference: Jan. 22, 2009

For those who could not make it,  here are my recollections of the event
Feel free to:

Presenters:

Mr. Kiefaber opening the press conference with a brief history of the theatre and events leading up to the current situation. He attempted to impress upon those present that the topic of the day was what needs to occur to move the transition to a community owned and operated non-profit forward, namely state and local officials “coming to table” to work through complications that have currently stalled the process.

Ms. Penza expressed her support of the theatre and made points about how the theatre was instrumental in the rebirth of the Belvedere Square area and the negative impact on local businesses expected if the theatre should have to close.

Dr. Evans read and discussed letters she has written emphasizing the community services the theatre has provided for years (most recently the food drive/inauguration viewing party) and the lack of concrete support from local or state government. “They are aware of the situation,” she pointed out.

Note: Then Mayor Martin O’Malley was apparently a staunch advocate for the Belvedere Square revitaliization (http://baltimore.bizjournals.com/baltimore/stories/2005/09/05/editorial3.html) and even got into some hot water when he sent out a letter asking folks to patronize the area (http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/stories/2003/08/11/story2.html).
He certainly knows The Senator, if nothing else, from the premiere of Ladder 49 (http://www.dailypress.com/bal-te.to.ladder28sep28,0,548183.story).

Ms. DeCamp reminded everyone how the public has rallied around the theatre in the past, but agreed that the current situation requires our elected officials to get involved. She stated that she expects a decline in the areas neighborhoods and declining residential market values if The Senator should close.

A question & answer period followed with some media repeatedly asking for specific dollar amounts and the timeline in which the theatre would have to lock its doors. Mr. Kiefaber declined to answer these on the grounds that the day’s forum was not the place for such discussion, rather what needs to happen to avoid the closure and repercussions.

Several others in attendance offered services to aid in the transition effort and related how the theatre has been a boon

References (will add as I discover more):
* The Daily Record article: “Once again, Senator warns of ‘imminent’ closure
http://www.mddailyrecord.com/article.cfm?id=10571&type=UTTM

* Theatre Historical Society of America letter to Governor O’Malley, Major Dixon, Maryland and Baltimore City Legislators:
http://www.senator.com/senator16.cfm

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Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 7:58 PM  Leave a Comment  

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