Traverse City Record-Eagle

Our Views

July 21, 2013

Editorial: Bijou set to enhance upgraded Clinch Park

Dig deeper, local film buffs.

It appears it’ll take a few more dollars than initially estimated to renovate the city’s Con Foster Museum and turn it into a State Theatre sibling dubbed Bijou by the Bay.

But costs won’t reach the startling $1.5 million level a Traverse City Film Festival official cited last week, though at $800,000 the latest price tag is higher than initial projections. The good news is city taxpayers aren’t on the hook for the Bijou. Even better, the new theater will add another outstanding element to the recently upgraded Clinch Park and will benefit the city. The Bijou’s costs will be borne by Traverse City Film Festival supporters, as enthusiastic a group of local boosters as any out there. They’ll pony up and pay the bill.

Crews are working at break-neck pace to wrap the Bijou project by July 29, a day before projectors roll for Film Festival 2013. The Bijou will serve as not only another venue for the Film Festival, but also will provide State Theatre officials a long-desired second screen and allow them to show more first-run, mainstream movies.

The Bijou seems like an excellent use for a boarded-up, 80-year-old building that’s likely to become quite a hot spot, particularly during pleasant-weather months. Even in winter the new theater will be a quick hike from downtown or city parking lots through a thankfully refurbished tunnel under Grandview Parkway.

There’s been plenty of grousing from some quarters about the heave ho given to some of Clinch Park’s old standbys, in particular the zoo and mini-train, but overall the new setup plays better to a wider audience, including those who don’t share the same sense of nostalgia for the ousted attractions.

Aside from the nasty kids-sprayed-with-sewage incident during the Cherry Festival, the new Clinch Park seems to be a hit. The coming attraction Bijou promises to add to the luster.



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