Peter Del Mastro
To the Editor:
A great meeting was held at City Hall (Monday) evening. What made this particular meeting special was the discussion; participation was opened up to everyone in attendance. The exchanges were open, honest and without partisan posturing that can stifle the free exchange of ideas. It was like a breath of fresh air.
I listened and I participated, advocating for the cultural center option. I believe it is a very important quality of life issue for all Bristol residents, but especially for the children who are our city’s future. It is vitally important to raise them in an environment that gives them, if not a love for, then certainly a greater appreciation for one of the finer things in life, art in all its forms.
After listening to all sides, it became clear to me that this option, the one with the highest degree of risk, will not survive. However, based on the discussion, it looks like there is broad support among the decision makers to preserve the theater. The best way to do that, given the alternatives, is to relocate City Hall to MBS; this greatly reduces the risks associated with operation of the theater because the city will assume the lion’s share of building costs and maintenance, a burden that would have been shouldered by the cultural center if that option prevailed. There are some who will still claim the cost is still too high; however, I am hopeful that those who can look beyond the dollar signs and recognize the intrinsic value of a vibrant theater, to our children and to the rebirth of our downtown, will far outnumber the naysayers.