New Executive Director on Board – Jeff Potts, our first executive director, hit the ground running last week. He started reaching out to board members and community leaders and attending board and committee meetings. He is a quick study. He left the end of the week to attend the annual conference of the League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT). He is already grounded in our issues and challenges, so he was prepared to ask the right questions. Jeff holds an MBA, has non-profit management experience in Oshkosh, was an entertainment journalist and was a civic leader, including president of Oshkosh Rotary. Let’s all help Jeff become a big success and a part of our community.
Building Permit Issued – There’s a bright orange city building permit on the front of “The Bend.” We had been moving forward on conditional permits. There were lots of hoops and hurdles to get past, especially because ours is a historically registered building. The restoration has to be true to the original features, but still modernize the infrastructure. All’s well that ends well, and we have our permit. Full speed ahead!
Site plan approved – The West Bend Planning Commission approved the site plan that surrounds the theatre last week. It includes a realigned curb line on Main Street that will avoid collisions by delivery trucks with our soon-to-be restored historic marquee. It will also allow for safe drop-offs for patrons. The cinder block stairwell exit to the Riverwalk will be up for discussion when the Milwaukee River west bank project comes up in 2020 and 2021. Ditto for the city alley to the north, which will be reconfigured for public access.
Restoration Work Progresses – The replacement of deteriorated Cream City brick is nearly complete. It was a big job, especially for the parapets at the edges of the roof. Under way is the leveling of the front third of the main floor. That will allow space for the bar, new bathrooms and tables and chairs, seating for a variety of events. Soon to follow is the lift to the roof of HVAC units by helicopter this month. Should be a great photo-op.
Mark Your Calendars for September 5 Relighting – The public is invited to a ceremony to “Light Up The Bend” at 5:30 p.m., just before the final Music on Main at 6:30 p.m. down the street from The Bend. The newly refurbished “blade,” the iconic sign with the name “West Bend” in lights, will be relit at that ceremony. How many LED bulbs are there? Answer: 470. Poblocki Sign Company took down the sign for renovation in December 2018.