Monday, December 4, 2017

Common Council Approves Acquisition of Oddfellows Playhouse Building

The Common Council tonight approved a proposal to take ownership of the Oddfellows Playhouse building on Washington Street.

The Oddfellows Playhouse began 41 years ago, with a $250 grant from the city. It first used a building slated for redevelopment, the Oddfellows Building.

Its current building, at 128 Washington Street, is appraised at $660,000.

About 20 people came out in support of the proposal, including multiple current and former members of the board of directors.

The Council gave its unanimous support as individuals during its discussion and in its vote.

Grady Faulkner noted his gratitude to Oddfellows for its work with children, "[Oddfellows] had the opportunity, the will, the skill, to teach young people how to deal with difficult things in life."

Phil Pessina proclaimed his support, "I'm a very visionary person, ... when I see the young people expressing themselves, I see a bridge the North End ... from Oddfellows to the galleries, to Buttonwood, and tying it all in."

Several council members, especially Seb Giuliano, regaled the audience in Council Chambers with fond memories of their own theatrical performances.  Others, like Rob Blanchard, simply voted "yes".

Further details need to be determined, including whether management of the building will be through the Planning, Public Works, or the Arts and Recreation Department.

In exchange for ownership of the building, the city would be responsible for its maintenance. The Oddfellows Playhouse would rent the building for half of the available time, for $1 per year. The city envisions renting the building to other arts and theater organizations.

No comments: