Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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Letter to the Editor (05/13/2020)

The City of Colusa recently held a webinar in which city council discussed the possibility of a new marina, riverfront park, and community center. Colusa Theater was mentioned as a location for a possible “multi-generational, multi-cultural community center” and city council discussed possible uses for the space. Mentioned frequently were ideas such as classroom or conference room space, a commercial kitchen for cooking classes and rentals, an arcade or rock wall for kids. While I wholeheartedly agree the downtown area needs revitalization and I applaud the city in their efforts, I feel I must encourage the city not to pursue ideas in which our beloved theater is turned into classrooms and rock walls. Simply “gutting” the interior of this classic movie theater would be a crime.

There are so many other empty spaces in our city that are prime for the ideas in which you are discussing. Chung Sun is a large empty space which already has commercial plumbing, a parking lot, and it is located on Market Street. City Hall on Webster or the old high school on 10th are both grand buildings with classroom space. There are countless other empty buildings on Market Street.

The city has applied for grant funding to obtain the Colusa Theater. If the city does acquire the theater, I encourage city council to look at Kirby Theater of Roxboro, NC. This is a historic movie theater in a city with demographics much like the city of Colusa. After years of neglect and near demolition, their county acquired the theater and renovated it to pristine condition. They now have theatrical plays, movie showings, concerts, orchestras, school plays, comedians and other touring acts. They consider the Kirby to be the “jewel” of their small city. I can very much envision our Colusa Theater, with its beautiful, glowing neon lights in the middle of our city, bringing the community together again with similar events. The point is, it was renovated and used for its original theatrical purpose.

I realize Colusa Theater is enticing due to its location. However, I think you may find most Colusans have fond memories and a strong attachment to Colusa Theater. Did you know our theater was constructed and screened its first film in 1931, considered the “golden age of Hollywood”? As a Colusa native and someone who is extremely passionate about our theater, I can’t help but think how incredible it would be to celebrate a 100th birthday with our theater screening films once again. I will always be an advocate for this unique, 90 year old, art deco cinematic treasure and find the thought of it turning into “classrooms, commercial kitchens and a rockwall” truly heartbreaking.

Jenny Impinna Tan

Colusa, CA

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