Center Theater takes the stage

It’s showtime for the Center Theater. Tonight the City Council will discuss what to do with the 1940s theater, which it still doesn’t own.

A  city-commissioned consultant said Fremont should turn it into a movie theater that serves meals and beer.

But a Centerville citizens group  with its own city-funded consultant and a lot of red tee-shirts says the city should turn the theater into a performing arts center that helps nurture arts nonprofits.

City staff members aren’t making any recommendations.

My guess is the council gives the Centerville group a shot at the nonprofit arts concept, and pulls the plug on them if they can’t raise enough money and get enough theater groups on board to make it work.

We’ll see.

Matt Artz


  1. I think you’re right Matt. I can’t make the meeting tonight as I’m on the east coast. Tell Anu and Bill that I say hello :D.

  2. Prediction – Dirk Lorenz will get his present for consistently towing the party line with the Council and City Manager. Atta Boy! General celebration among small artsy circle, renovations with attendant overruns and waste, grand opening, gradual decline due to inconvenient reality. Residents will get to pay for it, since non-profits are doing so well in this economy.

  3. Also remember when it comes to Dirk Lorenz that he’s always going to be Against anything that would compete with his Depot Cafe that’s just down the street from this decrepit theater (so he’s against the food and film option) and For anything that might make him an extra buck. I’d mind that less if he were always up front about it instead of feigning to be an art lover.

    I still can’t get over the fact that the city doesn’t even own this theater – yet, they’ve spent huge amounts of time (and some money) on this specious project.

  4. With this economy, the best thing for this site is to spend just little money and hope for a cheap second run theatre. 10 yrs later if economy is better city can revisit this. This is absolutely not the time to do non profit subsidy

  5. Andy, you’re absolutely right, spending for the sake of doing something is not in the city’s best interest. But because they won’t listen to us, may as well have some good come out of it! I wouldn’t chose now to tackle this problem as an elected official, you’re all correct, we need to wait until we have some money to take on pet project like this…

  6. Ishan you are all over the board. That place has and always be a money pit that will never amount to nothing. The loacation was a great spot in the 1950’s and the 1960’s when people went to cruise the strip.

    The location is not a draw anymore people have tried time and time agian to rebuild and nobody has been able to pull it off.

  7. My bad smalls! I’m sitting here in a hospital in NJ doing rounds. The surgery I was supposed to be viewing got cancelled so I had a whole lotta time to just sit around. Thought I’d get some campaign research done :]

  8. Matt implies that the COF would have to buy the theater. How much do you think it will cost the city? A mil or so with rent on the back end? Is this not exponentially cheaper than building a performing arts center?

    I don’t think a perf arts center of any stripe will succeed in Fremont, so why not toss something out there on the cheap? I think this is a good move, in that it will pacify quite a few clammering for this kind of thing.

  9. Ashley hit the nail on the head.

    There is a small circle of players in Fremont politics and usually it is their pet project(s) that get the attention from and approval by the City Council.

    The location will not be a draw unless the whole of Centerville is reconceived. There has to be parking and something more than Afghan restaurants to draw people. Plus, I hate to say it, but there has never been a big “performing arts” community in Fremont.

    Maybe they should bring back the Rocky Horror Picture Show – that’s about the last time that place did any business…

  10. Easy there Ishan! I just ment you agree with this and then that guy. You always seem to have good points to make on items on this blog. I would like to read about how you feel about things and your ideas. That is what I ment when I said all over the board.

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