Photo: Jeff Hart
The City of Columbus Redevelopment Commission heard from the Crump Steering Committee about their recommendation for the future of the historic Crump Theatre at their regular board meeting Monday.
The Crump Steering Committee, represented by committee member Bob Crider, said they supported “Scenario One,” which is an $11 million proposal that would renovate the Crump into a 450-seat performing arts space.
Crider said the plan fielded the most public support, and will improve the city in different ways.
“Appeal to tourists, and have an economic impact that way, as well as be a great quality of life enhancer for residents,” Crider said.
The steering committee asked the redevelopment commission for $20,000 to hire consultants to help develop a detailed operating plan for the renovation and running of the theatre.
Mayor Kristen Brown was enthusiastic about the overall proposal, however she and other commission members, like Russell Poling, want to see a more detailed proposal before granting their approval.
“I think one thing that was really made clear tonight was we need a more exact amount, and who are we going to pay, and what are we going to get from them?” Poling said.
John Pickett, another member of the steering committee, believes the health of the performing arts in Columbus hinges on saving the Crump. He says there is a serious lack of facilities to promote the arts in Columbus.
“You can’t have a baseball program without baseball diamonds,” Pickett said. “So we can’t get theater and some of the arts things happening if we don’t have some basic facilities.”
The Crump Theatre was built in 1889 and is the oldest theatre in the state.
David Sechrest, curator of the Historic Columbus, Indiana website, spent the last year writing a book about the Crump. He says the historic significance of the theatre can’t be overstated.
“There’s 125 years of history in that building,” Sechrest said. “How do we just throw it away? How do we just say, we don’t need it anymore? I feel it’s just an important part of the community that we need to keep.”
The steering committee will present their proposal to the City Council on June 2nd, and if approved, will present again to the redevelopment commission for final approval.