Sturgis commissioners hear report from auditorium committee


STURGIS – A study committee’s report on improving the Sturges-Young Auditorium was the subject of a work session by city commissioners Wednesday evening.

Committee members visited nine other venues in an effort to understand best practices that might be applied to the local auditorium.

LeeAnn McConnell told the commissioners the enthusiasm is there.

"We all agree, this entire committee, that it's worth saving, and it's worth taking into the next 50 to 100 years. And we believe if you give us the green light to do this, that we can do it. We will find funding. We have the people. We have the talent to make this the crown jewel again for this community."

Committee member Travis Klinger did considerable research and feels the auditorium can succeed.

"To be a venue is something special. We have 969 seats here. When speaking to booking agents I found that we are at the precipice. We are right at the number that most acts would enjoy performing at."

The needs of the auditorium fall into two general areas: restoration and updates, and community engagement and marketing.

Vice-mayor Jon Good said he was saddened that the committee felt they needed to plead to rescue the auditorium.

"I don't see it as a rescue. I think it is more a re-dedication of our efforts as a city commission to support this facility in the strongest way possible."

Commissioner Ken Malone said how far the city goes will depend on the numbers.

"How do we pay for it? We have a lack of funding. You notice every year we put in a quarter-million to 400-thousand dollars into this facility and you can't see it. And that's not that anything is being done wrong, but it's got to be done differently."

The commissioners urged the committee to prioritize the list of needs and suggest ways they might be funded.

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