Traverse City Record-Eagle


November 24, 2013

Editorial: TC must keep promises to help Bijou succeed

Downtown Traverse City has come a long way since the Traverse City Film Festival refurbished and reopened the historic State Theatre in 2007.

By attracting more than 1 million movie-goers downtown since then the theater has been the catalyst for the surge of business activity that has seen new restaurants, new shops and new buildings, plus a lot more business for existing stores, later hours and a sense that there’s something going on. There’s a nightlife and bustle that wasn’t there before.

The film festival has now unveiled Bijou by the Bay, the transformation of the old Con Foster Museum building in Clinch Park into a 150-seat movie house that will offer first-run films and a second downtown-area screen, the first time in about a century the city will have two operating theaters inside the city limits.

And while the Bljou may not have the kind of impact on downtown that the State has had, it is a significant addition to the local entertainment and business scene that will, like the State, bring thousands of people and untold dollars to downtown. It’s an ancient economic maxim that a rising tide floats all boats; getting the downtown tide to rise not once but twice is an amazing feat.

But the grand opening of the Bijou over the weekend is only the beginning of much work yet to be done. A lot of that is going to be up to the Film Festival. Festival co-founder Michael Moore has said the festival wants to upgrade the projector for the Bijou, create a vestibule so patrons can get in out of the elements, improve heating and eventually install 3-D capability.

But the less glamorous work of helping the Bijou succeed by maintaining year-round access, helping direct patrons to the right place and ensuring that it’s a safe experience for everyone is going to be up to the city and a seemingly reluctant city commission.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge