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April 24, 2014

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Boulder City Mayor listens to citizens’ concerns over theater

No one can accuse Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler of not listening to residents.

He spent nearly two hours today in Sandra Reuther’s Birch Street living room with 12 residents, hearing concerns about plans to add a 536-seat theater to a historic section of Boulder City.

The theater would share parking spaces with the residents, who already have begun a petition opposing the project. The neighbors aren’t interested in a compromise. They say the theater would be better suited in another section of town, away from the narrow residential streets.

Making the old building a theater that operates almost daily would ruin the quaint ambiance of their neighborhood, they told the mayor.

“It should be stopped before it goes any further,” said Cindy Dawes, who has lived in Boulder City for more than 50 years. “It’s trying to (squeeze) something into a place where it doesn’t fit.”

Preservationists who value the historical significance of the 68-year-old former Los Angeles Water and

Power building, which would be remodeled to make room for the theater, also have voiced concerns.

The building on Nevada Way once served as administrative offices for Hoover Dam operators. Today it houses a small stage and offices for the music company and a food pantry. Both use the space for free.

The city also uses a courtyard area for storage and houses the code enforcement department at the site.

The City Council has not voted on any new lease or building permits. The State Historic Preservation Office also would have to sign off on any major changes to the building.

The non-profit Red Mountain Music Company has proposed the renovation and its leaders say they have $1 million for construction costs. However, the building would likely cost $10 million to restore.

Tobler said today that he hasn’t made a decision on the proposal. “I’m just here to listen,” he said.

But he noted: “The city needs something like this. There is a lot of support for this.”

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