Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Merriweather update...

Whenever someone asks me if Merriweather is “saved,” my tepid response is usually “for now.” Despite claims from the pavilion’s owners that it will stay open, no permanent protections are in place and IMP Productions still does not have its sought-after long-term operating contract.

The last official action on its future happened way back in March of 2005, when the county-appointed commission studying whether to purchase the pavilion released its official report. Shortly after that, General Growth announced that it wouldn’t sell Merriweather and that it wouldn’t close or enclose it either.

Thankfully, those interested in the MPP’s future can attend (but not ask questions) a status report meeting hosted by the Merriweather Post Pavilion Advisory Panel on September 25. From the press release:

“Seventeen months have passed since the panel released its final report and findings on the Pavilion,” said County Executive Robey. “We’ve always believed that Merriweather plays an important role in our community as a venue for the arts and a place for people to gather and enjoy live performances. It’s time for a status report on the progress that is being made as we move forward to make Merriweather an even greater regional attraction.”

Doug Godine of General Growth Properties and Seth Hurwitz from IMP Productions will make presentations to the panel members. Although the meeting will be open to the public, only panel members will be allowed to ask questions of the speakers.

This will be the first meeting of the panel since it delivered its final report and recommendations regarding the future of Merriweather to County Executive Robey on March 18, 2005. Panel recommendations included keeping the facility as an outdoor concert venue, signing a long-term contract with an operator to provide operational, financial and management stability and making substantial renovations to the facility that could be constructed in phases over a five-year period.
I’m glad to see the panel reconvening for an update; I was always impressed with the professionalism and attention to detail of its members. My hope is that this meeting results in some new information about the future prospects of MPP, helping me answer the above-posed question with a little more certainty.

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