Introducing the Rocky Mountain Performing Arts Center
Fundraising under way for state-of-art facility, opening expected by 2016
Estes Performance InCorporated (EPIC) and a consortium of private donors and supporters have announced plans for construction of The Rocky Mountain Performing Arts Center (“The Rocky”) to benefit the citizens of Estes Park, Larimer County, the State of Colorado and beyond.
The Rocky Mountain Performing Arts Center will play host to distinguished performing artists, local groups and a significant number of nationally and internationally known performers. Public funds will not be used for the project, as donors and the private sector will provide all funding.
“Building ‘The Rocky’ is the result of a cooperation between local residents and second-home owners from around the country to build a new community treasure, one which will continue a performing arts tradition that dates back nearly a century on this site,” said Curt Gleaves, President of the EPIC Board of Trustees. “A generous donation of land by property owners and Estes Park residents, Sharon and Robert Seeley, kicks off a private fundraising effort that has targeted $15 million for construction of the facility.”
This donation of land was contingent upon reaching fundraising campaign milestones prior to March 2014. Ms. Seeley explains, “Rather than selling the property to just any developer, Robert and I wanted to leave something good and lasting to our home community. This project fits the bill in every respect.”
“By donating this property, the Seeley Family has dramatically enhanced the value of all donations, previously provided by the people of Estes Park. Through the auspices of the Friends of Stanley Hall and Supporters of the Performing arts, we are ultimately able to realize the dream of a performing arts center,” said Dick Zellner and EPIC Trustee.
“We look forward to seeing plans for the performing arts center as EPIC works through the development process, incorporating feedback from citizens, the Planning Commission and the Town Board,” said Mayor Bill Pinkham. “We believe a performing arts center would have cultural benefits for our community, as well as invigorate our economy by encouraging more guests to visit our lodges, shops and restaurants.”
The new complex will be built in the 100 block of East Elkhorn at the previous location of the Park Theater Mall. The Fall River, which runs through the project site, will be uncovered and allow for completion of the final segment of the Town’s Riverwalk. The Riverwalk will pass through the new building’s atrium, but will be open for public use at all times. The Town of Estes Park will also be granted an easement to the river that will allow public access.
The downtown location of “The Rocky” is expected to be a magnet for upscale clientele and a significant number of “cultural tourists” whose presence will benefit downtown businesses. This cultural center will expand entertainment options and extend the time residents and tourists are spending downtown. Currently more than 55 percent of visitors to Estes Park come from outside the state of Colorado.
EPIC is an organization devoted to making “The Rocky” a reality. The donated property is large enough to allow for a commercial area to complement the performing arts center. By developing a self-sustaining business model, including a 501c(3) non-profit (The Rocky) and a Limited Liability Corporation, (the commercial component), EPIC’s plan will serve as a national model for other communities who strive to create a financially sustainable performing arts facility. EPIC will raise the funds necessary for the total facility; operate the performing arts center and own 80% of the L.L.C., which in turn will allow EPIC to collect tax-free annual, passive, rental income to support the L.L.C.
With its non-profit focus and unique structure, it is expected that the EPIC Board of Trustees will attract and be populated by major donors and philanthropists who wish to invest in this project. This widened scope will change the fund raising program from one that is locally based into something nationally based. The expanded business plan, while continuing to serve the needs of local community performing arts groups, will now concentrate on presenting nationally and internationally acclaimed performers as well.
A professional management team will lead “The Rocky” to national prominence through creative local and national programming and the hosting of major meetings and seminars. It is expected that the facility will open in the spring of 2016. Selection of a contractor and other announcements about fundraising, programs and anticipated economic impact will be forthcoming.
Follow www.rockymountainperformingarts.org for regular updates.