News Archive 2007-2008

News Archive: 2007-2008
Theater venues being restored to their former glory are revitalizing neighborhoods
[November, 2008] According to a recent artilce in the Washington Business Journal , theaters like the Tivoli, the Lincoln Theatre on U Street, and The Atlas Performing Arts Center in the up-and-coming Atlas District on H Street NE have successfully kick-started economic development in their neighborhoods. Two other venues now in development are expected to do the same: The Strand in SE DC, and the Howard in Shaw. However, The Takoma Theatre remains identified as endangered.
— “Encore performances now playing at a theater near you”, Washington Business Journal, Nov 17,2008

Arts-related zoning supported by the Conservancy in testimony before the DC Zoning Commission
[Sept 2008] Following earlier work this year by multiple working groups, the DC Zoning Commission began hearings on the proposals for the Comprehensive Zoning Regulations Rewrite. In testimony before the Commission on establishing Arts & Culture Districts, Conservancy President Loretta Neumann, indicated that the Conservancy generally supports the concept of using zoning and other governmental tools to facilitate arts and cultural activities distributed across the District.

Ms. Neumann, a member of the Arts and Culture Working Group, noted however that the Conservancy was troubled by the specific recommendation to “create stand-alone arts districts instead of arts overlays.” Where an arts overlay zone could be compatible with the current commercial overlay zoning (C-2-A) in the historic district area of the Takoma Theatre, a new, distinct arts district zoning may not. Ms. Neumann emphasized that the Conservancy could not support designating an Arts District that would supplant the current zoning overlay.
— Testimony of Loretta Neumann on Arts & Culture, Comprehensive Zoning Regulations Rewrite

Needs assessment study findings presented at community meeting
[Sept 2008] At the request of the Takoma DC Neighborhood Association (TDCNA), the Conservancy presented some of the findings of its Takoma Theatre Needs Assessment report to members at their monthly meeting. While the meeting focus was strategic planning for the Takoma Recreation Center, the study’s demographic findings relate directly – the Center is only three blocks from the Theatre. Both facilities serve the recreational needs of the community. Conservancy Board member Steve Smith highlighted trends important to both the Theatre and the Recreation Center, including the projected population growth of both young children (0-9 yrs old) and those nearing and in retirement (55+ yrs old). TDCNA members and representatives from the DC Department of Parks & Recreation agreed that opportunities for joint programs should be explored in the planning processes.
— Extract of Findings from Needs Assessment Study for Takoma Theatre

DC awards Takoma Theatre Conservancy $100,000 for planning and marketing
[July, 2008] DC Council logoThe DC City Council recognized the potential contribution that a revitalized Takoma Theatre could play in the community and awarded the Conservancy grant funds for further planning and marketing studies under the 2008 Budget Suppo rt Act for FY 2009 . The studies will build on the highly positive market and feasibility study completed in March, and focus on architectural requirements for diverse performing and community uses, exterior space uses, transportation, and planning for funding renovations and possible additions.
(See also “Grants offer hope for Takoma Theatre renewal”, The Gazette , 7-16-2008.)

“Highly feasible” concludes nationally-recognized theatre management consulting firm about audience and performer market demand for Takoma Theatre Cultural Arts Center
[March, 2008] Through the DC Neighborhood Investment Fund(NIF) grant, the Conservancy sought to answer the basic question of whether there was a market to support the Takoma Theatre as a revitalized cultural arts center – or simply – if we build it, will they come?

More specifically, the study focused on four questions:
1. What is the market and audience demand for a revitalized Theatre?
2. What is the demand for space by performers and other users?
3. How well would a revitalized Theatre compete with other area theatres?
4. How could a revitalized Takoma Theatre support broader community goals? The study concluded that Yes!, the market conditions and potential for the revitalization and renovation of the Takoma Theatre are positive. A restored, revitalized Theatre should focus on: providing a home to arts groups to support the development and presentation of their work; and/or providing space and programs to serve and enhance the community. (More … )

National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) supports Takoma Theatre Conservancy with grant to focus on Theatre’s historic architecture
[Nov, 2007] To facilitate decisions about the future of the historic Takoma Theatre, the NTHP awarded the Conservancy grant funds for architectural and engineerinNTHP logog studies that will assist in preserving the theatre’s historic character while renovating it for uses as a cultural community center. The grant is funded in part by the NHTP through the Dorothea de Schweinitz Preservation Fund for Washington, DC and must be matched by organization funds within the one-year grant period.

Takoma Theatre Conservancy receives $45,000 grant from DC Neighborhood Investment Fund (NIF) for Feasibility, Architecture and Fundraising Studies
[Sept 2007] NIF logoDC’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development awarded the Conservancy an NIF-TPAG grant to study the market and architectural feasibility of establishing a community cultural arts center based at the historic Takoma Theatre. The overall objective of the competitive TPAG (Target Area Project Grant) program is to fund initiatives that will revitalize target areas by strengthening economic development opportunities and improving quality of life in one of 12 target areas in DC The Conservancy’s proposal focused on the Brightwood NIF Target Area. The major portion of the funds will support a Market Assessment study by the nationally-recognized theatre management consultants, Webb Management Services, New York.

Local Takoma community overwhelmingly supports mission of Takoma Theatre Conservancy to save the Takoma Theatre and create a community cultural arts center
[Sept, 2007] At three highly attended Takoma community events this Fall, the Takoma Theatre Conservancy presented and received strong support for its efforts to save the historic Takoma Theatre and to create a community cultural arts center. Over 1,000 individuals signed petitions of support at booths at the Takoma Park Folk Festival, Takoma Street Festival and the Takoma DC Neighborhood Association annual picnic. In March, 2007 the current owner of the theatre submitted an application to demolish the theatre and use the site for other commercial purposes. (The theatre is a contributing building in the Takoma DC Historic District and was purchased by the owner subsequent to its designation.) The DC Historic Preservation Review Board decision to deny the application had strong community support. The petitions confirmed support for the goal of saving the historic theatre and creating a community arts and education center.

DC Historic Preservation Review Board Denies Application to Demolish the Takoma Theatre
[May, 2007] DC logoThe Historic Preservation Office staff reviewed the application to demolish the building submitted by Mr. Milton McGinty, owner, and recommended its rejection by HPRB, citing the building’s contributing status to the Takoma Historic District. At a hearing in May, 2007, the Board voted to deny the raze application based on the staff recommendation and the strong testimony from community members, local organizations, and the Conservancy.
See also:
— ” Preservation office blocks theater’s demolition”, The Gazette , 5-30-2007
— HPRB Staff Recommendation Report, Takoma Theatre, 5-24-2007

Community members form the Takoma Theatre Conservancy to save the historic Takoma Theatre
[April, 2007] Responding to the application to demolish the historic Takoma Theatre, a group of residents of Takoma DC and Takoma Park MD formed the Takoma Theatre Conservancy with the goal of saving the theatre through purchase from the current owner.
— “Finale or encore for historic Takoma Theatre, The Gazette , 3-21-2007
— Owner plans to dismantle theater if there’s no buyer, Washington Business Journal , 4-13-2007

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