And so far it is good. I opened the MDJ and the headline indicated that the Lyric probably would not move from the Strand. Mayor Steve Tumlin put his enormous brain and much more behind his effort to prevent the Lyric Theatre moving from the Strand. It is wonderful to observe a politician who has a true appreciation of the arts and the total effect they have on the good of the community.
For the past couple of years I have had season tickets and have been given much pleasure from the Lyric presentations. I understand, from the MDJ article, that the plan proposed by Mayor Tumlin and Tom Browning, Chairman of the Downtown Marietta Development Authority, is scheduled for approval Wednesday.
I also understand from the MDJ that the Lyric will end up paying over $900,000 for their current five-year stay at the Strand. I know no more than what was written in the MDJ about the details of this financial arrangement, such as how the $900K is spent. I did hear the Lyric’s Brandt Blocker say, in a talk to a Strand audience, that ticket sales cover 50 percent of their expenses. I believe that is high compared with other theatres in metro Atlanta.
With the economic downturn/crash, donations have decreased significantly. I believe the Lyric should pay nothing, or maybe they should get paid. They should certainly pay no more than $450,000 (50 percent of $900,000 from ticket sales covered). If necessary the Cobb Commission should put up whatever is required.
The Tumlin plan is to sponsor five of the upcoming shows. Assuming a sponsorship of at least $20K per show we are looking at a possible $350,000 involvement. If asked what I would rather have — a viable Lyric theatre or a $3 million environmental study with no point of which I am aware, or giving Cobb employees a permanent raise instead of a bonus, I am sure you know the answer.
Commissioner Bob Ott now has competition for my favorite local person of authority in Cobb. Of course it is Mayor Tumlin. I wish Ott and Commissioner JoAnn Birrell would consider the economic impact they have on the Square. Believe that you should also consider the good they do in making Cobb a desirable place to live.