Garza Theatre Performances Cancelled
Public safety cited as reason to close building
Published Sept. 14, 2011 @ 11:47 a.m.
For safety reasons the City of Post was required to close the building at 226 E. Main Street to the public. The structure has been occupied by the Garza Theatre for approximately 25 years. Performances of the current production “Godspell” have been cancelled until further notice.
The city, who owns the building, requested a thorough engineering inspection of the building several weeks ago and received the ominous results Monday, September 12. The inspection by Grimes & Associates of Wolfforth found several safety issues with the almost 100-year-old building, including problems with the roof and the electrical. The firm's estimate of construction costs for the required improvements was between $1.5 million and $1.8 million. “As soon as we were presented with this report, the City of Post had to take action to protect the public,” said Mayor Thressa Harp. “It just makes me sick to think that building may be in jeopardy.”
Members of the Garza Theatre Board of Directors appeared before the City Council during its regular meeting last night (Tuesday, September 13). The Garza Theatre was on the agenda for the meeting; however, the purpose was to request Hotel Occupancy Tax Funds. This separate issue pertaining to the engineering report was not on the agenda; therefore, no action could be taken by the Council. The agenda for all council meetings is required by law to be posted for the public a minimum of 72 hours prior to the meeting. Because the report citing the safety issues of the theater building was not received until September 12, it was not possible to include this issue on the City Council meeting agenda for Tuesday's meeting.
Mayor Harp, City Manager Arbie Taylor and City Attorney Slater Elza did have a short informal discussion with theater board members regarding when the issue could be addressed before the City Council and answered questions that would be helpful to the theater in making some immediate decisions.
Both the Mayor and Taylor assured the theater representatives that they personally and on behalf of the City of Post were distressed by this report. The theater board was assured that city representatives would meet with them to discuss possible solutions and that this would be an agenda item for the next City Council meeting on October 18, 2011.
Garza Theatre representatives have appeared before the Post City Council during the past year requesting funds for remodeling the front portion of the building; however, condition of the roof and electrical was not addressed in these requests. "We were trying to make improvements because the front [of the building] is visually unappealing," said John Davis of Lubbock, Communications/Marketing Director for the Garza. The City put the request for money for the remodel project on hold pending additional information.