Coastal Voices Guest Opinion: Cooperation transforms theater

Written by Joan Buhler
Does it seem possible that it has been a year since Lighthouse Repertory Theatre (LRT) closed escrow on the building at 369 G St.?  We knew that the people of Crescent City were in favor of the restoration of the old Red’s Twin Cinema, but we did not expect such an outpouring of help and cooperation.

We at LRT feel obligated to acknowledge the generosity shown by this community and show our appreciation. Through connections with Chris Lanum at Crescent City Radiator, we worked with Gabe Pamploma, who removed most of the unrepairable moldy seats and hauled off three to four truckloads of metal and debris. A1 Auto wreckers also disposed of dysfunctional equipment.

When it came time to sandblast the old paint from the sides and floor, Dick Brown came forward with the loan of a compressor and extra hoses while Steve Hemmingsen furnished the sand pot. These items were loaned for the duration. Joe Wilson donated the repair of the compressor ($142) after we used it. Ace Hardware also donated the use of respirator masks and a discount on rented equipment.  Thanks to you all!

Of course, before we could sandblast the empty building, it had to be emptied out. To get started we were gifted brooms, shovels, masks, gloves and scoops through Rick Perez, manager of the Crescent City Home Depot. A value of $352.00. The cleanup took many hours and additional help from Del Norte Disposal with a discount on its large Dumpster. The Solid Waste Management Board gave us a $500 credit on the disposal of sheet-rock from the center wall of the twin cinema. Kevin Hendrick and Tedd Ward gave good advice on how to separate our waste in order to save money.

Barbara Burke at SBDC has been a great mentor on business advice and providing transmittal fees for a grant from Pacific Power that was sent in minutes before the deadline.

Three more kudos and they are really big ones. First, the 40 volunteers who worked 17 weekends from early April through Dec. 6, many of them working all work-party days. They donated a total of 559 hours. That is really a labor of love.

Second is our wonderful architect, Charles Slert. He said “It’s do-able,” so we went for it. Charles was quick to understand our financial situation and drew up plans using the existing building but modifying the interior to comply with fire and ADA codes. He was able to address the problem of water seepage because part of the building is below the ground level. He also has ideas on how to bring the auditorium up-to-date acoustically.  The professional cost for this service would be $9,366.65. Our discounted cost was $6,501.50. This man is a true visionary with a big heart.

Speaking of big hearts, we found one of the biggest at Home Depot beating in the body of Rick Perez, the manager. When we attack and solve the problem of water blowing in the front of the building and guttering being replaced in the back of the building, we will be ready to paint a Bear product to keep out the moisture. Home Depot will furnish 40 gallons at a value of $800.  Rick has taken on LRT as a partner and will help provide new restroom fixtures to the best of Home Depot’s ability. This cost is not determined as yet. What an asset Home Depot and Rick Perez are to the area. Thank you.

Our work has just started. We look the same on the outside, but the inside has definitely changed. Lots more to do, some with volunteer hours, but we are getting to the point where we need money. We are working on grants and partnering with Del Norte Builders Exchange. We want to stay local with contractors and skilled workers.

Wish us well in the next year and don’t forget, we are still producing good plays and musicals.

Joan Buhler is president of Lighthouse Repertory Theatre.