City Council Decision Brings Hope to Thespians

8 years 9 months 1 week ago Tuesday, August 17 2010 Aug 17, 2010 Tuesday, August 17, 2010 7:48:10 PM CDT August 17, 2010 in News

Four trailors sit atop a concrete slab, as ashes from darker days blow around the premises.

The scene is set for disaster, but don't say that to the merry players that inhabit this space, for them it is a reminder of a night that drastically changed the course of the outdoor theatre's history.

"I was in rehearsal the night the fire happened," said Jim Yelton, a member of the Board of Directors and a director himself, "I got a phone call telling me the barn was on fire, we were literally six weeks before opening night and we went from having everything we needed in the barn as far as costumes and props and sets and overnight it was gone."

Yelton said the show did indeed go on, the stage was repaired and shows played the duration of the season.

They dubbed it, the Phoenix Season.

"I remember my immediate thought was 'this is an opportunity for us to figure out what the future is," said Yelton, "We've kind of been going through the same course for a number of years. It's almost like someone hit the reset button for us."

And now, folks from Columbia Parks and Recreation and members of the Maplewood Barn Theatre want to fill the void left by the landmark's demise.

Two designs for the new barn were submitted at the City Council meeting on Monday, and Parks and Recreation wants public input.

The City Council also decided to put the one-eighth cent park sales tax on the November ballot.

This tax, if approved, would generate an estimated $12 million, $200,000 of that would go to the new Maplewood Barn.

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