|The Flower Theatre today. Photo courtesy of Chip Py.|
While it's good to see the space occupied again, it's a setback for the Flower Theatre Project, an initiative to bring this long-vacant and underused space back to life. So it seems appropriate to look back of what we've done and what will happen next.
Back in April 2012, I was sitting in the living room of my friends Amanda and Lawrence Hurley, who were telling me about how they wanted more things to walk to in Long Branch. Unemployed and looking for a project, I proposed holding a charrette, or design workshop, to envision what the Flower Theatre could be.
In August, we brought 30 residents, businesspeople and community leaders together to offer their thoughts for what the space could be. We put together a report exploring the social and economic issues affecting the theatre, and laid out potential visions for what it could be.
And our ideas took root. Al Tetrault, a professor at the University of Maryland, had his economic development and historic preservation class look at ways to bring back the theatre that were financially possible. A music promoter in Los Angeles inquired about renovating it and booking shows there, but disappeared soon after.