City officials have a draft of a five-year business plan for the historic Crump Theatre in hand.
Danielle McClelland, executive director of the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre in Bloomington, emailed the document and a draft of a first-year budget to Redevelopment Director Heather Pope, who received the documents Aug. 22.
Because the cost to renovate and reopen the Crump will exceed $500,000, the Columbus City Council will have the final say on the theater’s future.
Council members have stated that before they vote they want to see a business plan that shows how the theater can be renovated into a viable, self-supporting entertainment facility.
McClelland, a former program director for the Columbus Area Arts Council, was hired July 21 by the Columbus Redevelopment Commission to create the business plan, for which she will be paid $18,800.
She already has received an up-front payment of $4,000, according to a voucher provided by Clerk-Treasurer Luann Welmer.
While starting on the business plan earlier this month, McClelland said she could see a nonprofit group
operating and managing the Crump, under city ownership. That’s how’s the Buskirk-Chumley operates.
In the initial assessment she sent to Pope and members of the Crump steering committee, McClelland details four basic assumptions she had from her experience developing and managing the Buskirk-Chumley Theater that she used in her research into the best
management of a renovated Crump Theatre:
Flexible use is key to the success of a public venue.
The space cannot be geared toward a singular person or group. Community arts groups must adapt to the space.
Theater management must have a connection with the community and encourage both risk-taking and rational planning.
A public venue has more significance than generating tourist dollars. It is a resource that several sectors of the community, including arts, business and nonprofits, can utilize.
McClelland also detailed her initial observations and recommendations. Among those are that the Crump
needs 600 to 650 seats, an expansion to the east to allow for a commercial storefront and other amenities and public ownership with private non-profit management.
In the draft, she predicts that at the end of its first year in operation, the Crump’s budget would be in the red, bringing in a little more than $496,000 in gross income but spending a little more than $698,000.
Major revenue sources would include theater rental, which McClelland estimates would net $155,081, and an estimated $237,500 in ticket sales from 20 shows, six films and two major fundraising events.
The largest expense would be an estimated $364,820 for payroll for about a dozen employees, some full-time, some part-time, from an executive director and event staff to building maintenance.
McClelland now will start drafting the rest of the five-year budget for operating the 125-year-old theater in downtown Columbus.
That draft is due Sept. 5, with a final version of the budget, the plan and a “Case for the Crump” to be completed and sent to the Crump steering committee by Dec. 5.
Once she completes the business plan, McClelland will present the plan to both the redevelopment commission and the city council, according to her contract.