Tuesday, March 5, 2013

St. George purchases Electric Theater

City officials unveiled the site for a new children’s museum and announced the purchase of a century-old theater as part of the ongoing effort to vitalize St. George’s downtown area. Mayor Daniel McArthur led a press conference on the changes in front of the Arts Center at the intersection of 100 South and Main Street, where the children’s museum will be located. To prevent that, the city is investing funds and effort into the two major projects, and making way for more down the road.

There has been local interest in a children’s museum for the better part of a decade, and the Arts Center, currently used for office space and special events, should be an ideal location. By moving into the Arts Center, the move-in costs will be minimal, requiring only a coat of paint. In addition, the organization is expecting to use museum exhibits worth more than $1 million for only about $30,000, essentially donated to the city from the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas, which is getting new exhibits as part of a move to a larger location.

Less clear was the plan for the theater purchase. The Electric Theater, built in 1911 just east of the Town Square on Tabernacle Street, has hosted movies, plays, concerts and other performances for more than a century, but has mostly been closed in recent months.

To preserve the historic building and set up opportunities to make the downtown area more of an arts-based destination for residents, the city paid $950,000 for the property and two adjoining buildings. The Spectrum