Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 26, 2013

Editorial: Bijou must be fit, or sit

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — It’s down-to-the-wire time for Bijou by the Bay renovations, with inspectors from a gaggle of county and city agencies set to conclude their work today.

If inspectors don’t OK construction fixes needed to turn the city’s former Con Foster Museum into a movie theater, it’ll be up to fledgling city Manager Jered Ottenwess to make the call on whether the Bijou is in play for the theater’s scheduled Monday grand opening fundraiser and Wednesday viewings of Traverse City Film Festival fare.

No one in their right mind should hope for failure, but it’s clear Ottenwess has no option should inspectors red-flag the project: He can’t cut corners and must deny occupancy.

The city is fresh off a public relations nightmare with its Clinch Park sewage-spewing splash pad, and officials simply can’t turn a similar blind eye to the Bijou if it’s not completed to inspectors’ specifications. That could mean a significant disruption of Film Festival viewings, but the city’s in no position to grant the Bijou and Film Festival a waiver, then see a wall collapse or a film-goer electrocuted because of shoddy wiring.