McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley did a first on Tuesday. He gave his first State of the City Address.
It comes as little surprise that, in Mayor Haley's assessment, the city has never been better in its 217-year history. Under Mayor Haley's leadership, the city has taken flight like a sparrow. It's taken the elevator to the top floor, just hopefully not the City Hall elevator which always seems to be broken.
If we're talking about city improvements in recent years, undoubtedly one of the most noticeable upgrades is a working Park Theater, which is dancing its way toward its second full year of operation. While only 62 percent of city residents wanted liquor stores, it seems nearly 100 percent of the people love the Park Theater and the steroid shot it has given downtown McMinnville.
Recent talks surrounding the Park Theater have centered around establishing an advisory board to provide insight on the type of acts which the community might enjoy. This advisory board would not be booking entertainment, but it would be giving valuable feedback on what might be a big draw in terms of ticket sales.
Said Park Theater manager Kevin Roberts, "I don’t want to be the one who’s always making every call on every single thing. We would discuss it and we would have the final say on it, but I would love to have that feedback. I think it’s great.”
I agree and believe creating a Park Theater advisory board is a wise move. One person, or two people, might not have the best handle on what type of entertainment to schedule. If you had a committee of say 10 people, it would allow for much broader input.
I'm sure city officials have thought of this, but I would like to make this tiny suggestion when it comes to selecting advisory board members. Pick people of all ages.
We've all heard the term "fun for the whole family" and most of us realize this concept does not exist. Different generations can have vastly different interests and that's why I think it's important to have a couple teenagers on this advisory board. Be sure to include at least one grandmother.
Have some steady church-goers, and maybe some who are not so steady. Have an old man with a cane and a young man with ambition. For this advisory board to be truly effective, it should be a sampling from many walks of life.
Assembling the same people who, for whatever reason, have been hand picked to serve on every board in town is probably not going to generate the type of feedback that's desired. As far as my entertainment dollar is concerned, I would never pay to see a bluegrass band at Park Theater. But I would open my wallet and pay to see a magician.
If the goal is to provide a community theater that offers a diverse lineup of entertainment for the entire community, the proposed advisory board should be diverse too. City officials should step outside their comfort zone of usual choices and gain input from different voices.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.