Almost 13 years later, and only 40% of the State Theatre restoration complete

Seems Sylvia Henkin’s family is a little fed up with the (lack of) progress;

McGowan acknowledged “there has been some frustration about it not being open yet.” He said the theater restoration board is dedicated, hard working and has accomplished much, but it’s also lacked some of the strong community connections steering committee members will bring to the table.

“Putting their names on this and saying, ‘We’re endorsing the rest of the project,’ I think it will build confidence in the community that there’s enough community leadership to make this work,” McGowan said.

Well Gene, that may be part of the problem, too many ‘know-it-all’ rich folk in town thinking they know something about restoration, this has been the case since this project began. One of my good friends who is now living in Colorado, sat on the first board, she was a retired insurance adjuster, so this kind of work was right up her alley when she joined the board. She said there was a constant state of contention with other board members when she would make suggestions about what work needed to be done first (fix roof, seal windows and building and remove asbestos). They had other plans. It didn’t matter that she worked in the field and told them over and over again that the asbestos needed to be removed before any restoration could take place. Then there was the broken fundraising promises. Let’s just say that delays DO NOT surprise me.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for it to open, it will be a gem downtown.

I take issue with one of the committee members, Larry Toll from the Washington Pavilion, and not because he is Larry, but the Pavilion has had an issue with the State for years. See, when the Belbas theater was built, it was going to be the new home of the SF Film Society. A perfect place to see alternative/indy films (even though I did enjoy Jeshke at USF, and would attend all the time, until the hoity-toities stealed the show from the grassroots folks of the Film Society). Well the film society got into a tussle with the Pav (I think over a film projector or something stupid like that) and that idea went in the toilet which has caused bad blood between the film society and the Pav, then in comes the State Theatre.

What also amazes me is the lack of money it has been able to raise (the real reason it has been stalled). With all these billionaire trusts literally sitting a block and half away, you would think the money would be flowing into the place like a river. Nope. And now we have the departure of the guy who has been in charge of it over the last few years;

That’s what Stephen Williamson, the outgoing executive director of the nonprofit Sioux Falls State Theatre Co. that owns the building, hears, too.

“I can tell you our donor fulfillment rate is well over 90 percent. Absolutely, people are fired up about it,” said Williamson, who is moving to Chicago later this summer and leaving, he added, on good terms.

So Stephen, where’s that $30K the city council gave you for the projector?

Like I said, can’t wait for it to open, and I have been proud to have helped with fundraising (Zombiewalk) in the past. But let’s admit it, it time to buckle down and get people to open their pocket books. Ideas are a dime a dozen, it’s going to take capital, not talk, to finish this great building.


#1 Taxpayer on 07.14.15 at 4:13 pm

Correction: That would be $63,000 taxpayers gifted the State Theatre for a projector WITH the promise from Stephen Williamson, Executive Director, that as soon as the State Theatre opened there would be FREE SATURDAY MATINEES FOR KIDS.

His testimony was given at Carnegie before the City Council. It’s all on record.

#2 teatime on 07.14.15 at 7:50 pm

As long as they keep the owl on the top of the building. I haven’t looked lately, is it still there?

#3 The Daily Spin on 07.14.15 at 11:20 pm

Thusfar, tear everything out and put nothing back. No need to be in a hurry when the final objective is demolition.

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