Community leaders scramble to keep San Pedro’s Warner Grand open

posted by Michael Zoldessy on March 16, 2010 at 9:50 am

SAN PEDRO, CA — With the city of Los Angeles no longer interested in footing the bills for the Warner Grand, locals are trying to figure out options.

Questions such as whether for-profit organizations can compete with nonprofit groups – and whose obligation it will be to pay for ongoing utilities and maintenance – remain up in the air.

“There are a lot of unknowns right now, like exactly what the maintenance costs would be,” said Liz Schindler-Johnson, volunteer director of the Grand Vision Foundation. “This is going to become an ongoing expense that the community is now being asked to bear and that’s something to be kept in mind. It’s not a one-time only expenditure, it’s going to go on and on into the future.”

Currently, Lee Sweet of Cultural Affairs manages the theater on behalf of the city. The theater offers a variety of shows throughout the year, from a foreign film series to live musicals, concerts and classic films.

Read more in the Daily Breeze.

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Comments (7)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 16, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I hope it works out. We don’t have any other place like this in the South Bay.

RayKaufman
RayKaufman on March 17, 2010 at 9:42 am

It all boils down to the RFP/RFQ which is still being developed. There is a lot to consider, particularly given the tremendous overhead, as well as the need to carefully not ruffle feathers. San Pedro has become a contentious and at times abrasive community, seemingly never satisfied with the status quo and always finding fault. Everyone seems to have “ownership” issues. This could lead to a mishmash of operators, all feeling they are right.

Personally, I’d think the operations could best be awarded to a “for-profit” organization that could more easily run the theatre without outside interference. One thing’s certain; we’ll know before the end of June. The councilwoman states she won’t allow the theatre to “close” as it’s too valuable to downtown San Pedro. Only time will tell as this one bears watching and watching closely.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 17, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Isn’t John Papadakis promoting some sort of major renovation in the Ports O Call area?

RayKaufman
RayKaufman on March 18, 2010 at 9:02 am

Ken, you’re referring to what’s most recently been called the “Bridge to Breakwater” project, which John got started over 15 years ago with an idea for a ‘boardwalk’ along the main channel of the Port of LA. It is this very project, now handled by the Port, (in as much as they control the property,) that took untold numbers of public meetings to build consensus, bringing out the worst elements of this process and wasting untold millions of dollars, many plans and models,to finally reach a conclusion. The Port just recently OK’d the initial development after 12 years of bickering and backbiting.

These same elements are very active within the community and could potentially spell disaster for the Warner Grand. There are times when the public does NOT know what they’re talking about. When time is critical, consensus building needs to take a back seat. Nothing’s permanent, everything changes.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on March 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Several years ago, I volunteered to work backstage at a concert and was very concerned about the unsafe status of the fly tower rigging.

RayKaufman
RayKaufman on March 20, 2010 at 11:26 am

The stage house has undergone a complete strip and replacement by Tru-Roll about two years ago. New sound system, screen and frame, as well as a stage extension by way of a pit cover too. It’s perhaps the newest rigging in any South Bay theatre. Grand Vision and other donors have done an admirable job in upgrading the theatre for all concerned.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on March 23, 2010 at 11:26 am

Thank you for the good-to-know updated information.

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