This week Iowa Valley Community College District leaders made a smart move by exploring options for the Orpheum with community stakeholders.
Having suffered approximately $1 million in losses since its opening four years ago, it is certainly time to create a smart business plan for the theater center. However, keeping in mind the many community members - many of whom contributed time, effort, money and sweat equity in the project - must be kept paramount in moving forward. Moreover, the taxpayers who fund the operation of the college, and thus the Orpheum Theater Center, are just as important.
It will not be business as usual. Losses must be examined and operations must change to put the Orpheum back on track.
This doesn't mean the college's unique partnership with the theater shouldn't be celebrated. What it means is there was a lack of planning when this one-of-a-kind partnership was developed. Further, there was lack of oversight in its early years. Yes it's too bad, but the sky is not falling. Change is inevitable, but it will lead to the sustainability of the Orpheum so many of us enjoy.
It's evident the Orpheum's future role in the community is important to Marshalltown. This community has proven time and time again those things which we cherish will be supported. Marshalltown will stand with the Orpheum. We'll continue to be in awe of the impact the Orpheum has not only as an entertainment venue, but as a community partner.
The east end of Main Street is positioned for some exciting changes with the redevelopment of the Tallcorn Towers and the Iowa Wholesale building. We expect the Orpheum will continue to be the great anchor at the end of Main Street.
We also know it's in the college district's best interest to remain transparent about the necessary changes at the Orpheum. These transitions, while necessary, won't always be pleasant. We'll need to be informed in a deliberately upfront way about how our tax dollars will be spent.
There are surely some unpleasant days ahead, but we're confident that with Monday's community input and the necessary business savvy, the Orpheum will make a turnaround. We're grateful the college is giving it a chance to do so.
The Orpheum has earned itself a spot on the top shelf of community pride. We look forward to enjoying it for generations to come.