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Panel honing Crump vision


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A steering committee working to find a future use for the Crump Theatre will recommend spending $10.5 million to renovate and expand the facility.

Also on Monday, it will ask the Columbus Redevelopment Commission for $20,000 to pay a consultant to develop a future business plan for the theater.

The committee has selected a scenario for the Crump that would renovate the 125-year-old theater into a 450-seat performing space with a full stage, said Bob Crider, steering committee member and spokesman. It’s what the committee thinks the city and community wanted, he said.

“The public response basically told us that there is very broad support in the community for the renovation of the Crump,” he said. “That basically narrowed it down and excluded some of the off-site scenarios that were presented.”

Those off-site scenarios included potential plans for the Sears site or the YES Cinema, where a renovated theater could be located in either space. Both locations are just a few blocks away from the Crump.

The Crump has been closed since the end of December and is being kept closed because of fire-code and other structural concerns.

The $10.5 million renovation plan calls for an expanded lobby, new handicap-accessible public restrooms, new handicap-accessible dressing rooms, greater stage depth, an improved show load-in and improved acoustics.

The scenario would have the building’s footprint expand to the east and south to allow for the additional lobby and support space.

Crider will present the committee’s update and recommendation to the redevelopment commission at 6 p.m. Monday in council chambers at City Hall.

The business plan study, if approved and funded on Monday, would begin immediately, Crider said.

If you go

The Crump Theatre steering committee will give an update on the theater’s status and recommend a scenario for its renovation at the Columbus Redevelopment Commission meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.

The meeting will be conducted in city council chambers in city hall at 123 Washington St.

“We want that (study) to be very detailed in terms of revenues, expenses, how the ownership will be put together, programming and how we would approach charging for the space and booking,” he said.

In December 2013, the redevelopment commission signed a $95,520 contract with Lafayette-based theater consultant group Jones & Phillips Associates to study the Crump and its possible future uses.

In March, the consultants presented the study conclusions that suggested five possible scenarios for performance space in Columbus.

One of those scenarios involved renovating the Crump in its current form, two scenarios called for demolishing the Crump and building a new theater with 1,000 seats or 1,200 seats, and two scenarios would involve the vacant Sears site being revamped to add a new performing space.

Before the committee could ask the redevelopment commission for money to renovate the Crump, a business plan was needed, he said.

“That study, we’re hoping, will be done inside 90 days and then we will go back to the commission for approval of a business plan and actual authorization to go out and hire an architect,” he said.

Crider said the steering committee doesn’t have a specific consultant in mind for the business plan study.

No plans have been revealed for future use on the Sears site but there has been interest, said Tracy Souza, president and chief executive officer of Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County .

Architect Glenn Gareis, who is conducting a study on possible future uses of the Sears site, said he expects preliminary results from his study to be public sometime in June.

“We’ve had some warm responses from developers,” he said. “We’ve had interest from people that would like to be a part of the future on that part of downtown, from in town and out of town.”

Gareis would not be more specific about who the developers are or plans being proposed.

While no ideas are really on or off the table for the site, Souza said the foundation, which owns the Crump and Sears buildings, has not had any group interested in building a theater come forward.

“What we’re coming up with is a mixed space scenario that could include retail, office space, educational space … we’re open to all of that,” she said. “As far as I know, there’s no organization or group in the community working to develop that (theater) idea.”

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