Since construction on Memorial City Hall began earlier this year, the commission has gone back and forth on how to best insure the success of this new building.
This has largely taken the form of a single question: Should the commission hire a manager of marketing and operations for Memorial City Hall or immediately start a business plan to lay out a strategy for the future of the theater.
The cases for both were compelling. Those pushing for a business plan to be developed for Memorial City Hall first, stated that a plan must be put in place so the city could start working towards it now in order to have the performance venue functioning by its mid 2018 completion date.
Those believing the city should invest in a manager for the venue were quick to point out that a business plan for a theater was not the same as for one for a retail store, an industry or even a city; it requires someone familiar with the theater and what to expect from such a venue.
This potential deadlock was solved Thursday with the simple adage, "Why not both?"
Cynthia Hellen, the senior director at the Belcher Center in Longview, was brought before the commission and subsequently contracted to develop a business plan and operational guideline for the Memorial City Hall Performance Center.
Hellen has the knowledge and the experience to begin work on the business plan, thereby making sure the facility is ready to hit the ground running after its unveiling. Hellen will also aid in the hire of a full-time manager for the facility and is well suited for such a task. We hope her recommendation will be considered with the added weight of her experience.
This masterstroke of compromise was suggested by City Manager Lisa Agnor in the commission's November meeting and perhaps saved the subject from going for more months without answer. We applaud this simple action and the ability to think outside of the box.
We also congratulate the commission for for its decision to contract with Hellen.
It is solutions like these and the city's strong desire to make this facility a beautiful reality that make us excited to see Memorial City Hall open its doors this summer.