Shakespeare Park is finally moving forward
By Dr. David Chess
I want to commend Mayor Hoydick on moving a plan forward to make Shakespeare Park a place for music, entertainment and, eventually, theatre. Being a resident here for 37 years, I have witnessed many starts and stops. Watching factions argue and the resulting stalemate left us with nothing.
I see the mayor’s plan as a new beginning, hopefully not the endpoint, for the park.
Our town needs more revenue and Shakespeare Park can help generate some of that revenue.
One of the missing items in the mayor’s proposal is any statement on how the planned park updates will impact the town’s direct and indirect revenues, as well as what the ongoing maintenance and event costs may be and how they will be covered. Many theatres around the country of the size proposed on the mayor’s plan have one or more benefactor(s), or are associated with colleges and/or universities in their town. It would be helpful to know whether the mayor has plans to tap into the private sector here in Stratford for support, and how she will satisfy the recommendations of the Shakespeare Property Task Force for the long-term promotion of the park and, specifically, the theatre.
As a community, we don’t want to lose access to the park, and, we simultaneously want the park to be a great source of income to support our many town initiatives.
There are proposals to build an open theatre, like the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in the UK, on the site. A Globe-style theatre could be a relatively small indoor-outdoor theatre, which could be a great source of income as well as a site for many public and private events. The cost of creating a “Globe”-like structure is relatively low, about $7 million. And private investment is available. This type of theatre would become an attraction, the income is taxable, and the run-off to our local outdoor market, restaurants, B&Bs and hotels would be significant, while we could still enjoy the park. We’d like to know if the mayor has a similar financial study completed or in process for her plan.
Thank you again, Mayor Hoydick, for taking this important first step.