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Supporters Of The Performing Arts

Courtesy Artist Rendering

Courtesy Artist Rendering

The questions asked in this column are derived from sources such as those asked by current donors, questionnaires and interviews with local people who are interested in this important project. We welcome your input as well and hope that if you have concerns that are not answered here you will let us know by sending a note or calling to leave a message with your own questions. Contact address and phone are shown at the bottom of each column. The answers provided will come from a SOPA INC. board member, a member of a committee related to the question or other person with expertise who is working on the project, to give the best answer and information possible.

Today’s often asked question deals with the operations of the theater.

Won’t the Theater be too expensive to operate?

It will be more expensive NOT to build a Performing Arts Center(PAC). Every year that Estes Park does not have a theater, it falls further and further behind other mountain communities in attracting tourists and art lovers. The performance facilities at Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs and Grand Lake are pulling tourists away from Estes Park even as we speak.  For instance, Grand Lake’s 176-seat Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater has been running at 95% capacity every summer.

By contrast, the  report from the December 2009 American Marketing Survey estimates that a new 433-seat performing arts center will generate an increase of $2.2M in the Estes Park economy plus sales taxes annually. This increase will occur primarily in the lodging, restaurant and shopping businesses. The three and a half million tourists who pass through Rocky Mountain National Park every year will be tempted to stay overnight, or even for several nights, in order to see the high quality shows consistently programmed at an easily accessible, central location, i.e., our new PAC.

SOPA plans to hire a professional manager who can develop summer repertory theater similar to the one in Grand Lake, to bring acts into the community on a year around basis, producing a variety of music, dance, theater and educational opportunities so that tourists will stay in Estes to see a different show each consecutive night of their stay. To connect the local businesses with the PAC, the shoppers’ shuttle will extend its range from the Visitor’s Center, RMNP, and the shopping loop to the 600-space parking lot next to the PAC on the corner of Manford Avenue and Community Drive.

While summer visitors will contribute to the bulk of the operating expenses for the PAC’s year-round programming, the drama and music department chairpersons from the surrounding universities have assured Campaign Coordinator Chris Wood that they are eager to schedule their student events at a suitable venue in Estes Park as well when the theater is completed.

These events would occur during the academic year. Add to that, events offered by the artists who are already performing at Lincoln Center in Fort Collins and the Monfort Concert Hall in Greeley among other venues, and we will have a full year of entertainment plus enough income to subsidize the local performing arts groups who need to rent the PAC at reduced rates.
“If we build it, they will come.” No, let’s say, “When we build it…” You may  help by sending your contributions to SOPA at P.O. Box 3077, Estes Park, CO 80517.

To submit a question Contact SOPA INC at  – Phone: 970-481-6630 – P.O. Box 3077-Estes Park-Colo-80517

See our web-site at for further information.

Comments (1)

  • Dennis Hedley

    You just don’t get it! People don’t come to Estes Park to go to the theater—-They come for the majestic mountains of RMNP and to view the abundant wildlife that we are known for. I also object to the town commiting to $217,000 a year of our tax money to support this project. If you want a Vail or Aspen please move there and leave Estes Park as it is. We seem to get along just fine without the Big City mentality. Why don’t you let the people vote wheather they want SOPA here, or are you afraid of the results?

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