Week after week U.S. 1’s events editor, Lynn Miller, and Preview editor, Jamie Saxon, implore arts organizations to send them information about their upcoming events. And the sooner the better, so that U.S. 1 can do some advance planning about what events they preview and review in the future and so that the organizations themselves can be aware of what other arts groups are planning.
(Wouldn’t it be nice to avoid having four arts benefits all scheduled on the same Friday night in May? It’s happened but could be avoided if the arts organizations shared their scheduling decisions as far in advance as possible.)
But while our database at www.princetoninfo.com is updated daily, and events are entered months and sometimes even years in advance, the weekly print edition of U.S. 1 usually includes no more than seven or eight or nine days’ worth of event listings. There just aren’t enough trees in Canada to keep up with more than 200 to 300 events in one sitting.
This issue is an exception. If you have guests coming in from out of town next month you might to take them to Tyne Daly’s cabaret show at McCarter on Saturday, October 22 (she is also appearing in a world premiere at George Street Playhouse October 4 through November 6). If you think a night at the theater would make a nice gift for someone this December, but you don’t want to do the same old, same old holiday chestnut, consider David Saint’s certain-to-be-hilarious send up of “The Nutcracker,” also at George Street (see page 12 for details).
Our fall arts preview section, which runs from pages 12 to 27 of this issue, is a compendium of what’s on the horizon in drama, dance, music (classical, jazz, and pop), and art. We hope you find it a useful, engaging planning calendar. For us it’s almost like a set of marching orders. There will be no shortage of work for us and our writers.
#b#To the Editor: Don’t Neglect Arts in Trenton#/b#
How very, very sad it is to hear that the director of the Trenton Museum, Brian O. Hill, is to be laid off effective this month. I moved from the Jersey shore to Monroe Township four years ago, and I went searching for “ART venues” in middle New Jersey. And I found “GEMS” in Trenton and the greater Trenton area!
I now volunteer at the annual “Art All Night” in Trenton, I subscribe to art workshops at ARTWORKS in downtown Trenton, and I have been a frequent visitor of the Ellarslie. I envy the arts programs you have in Trenton! Discovering Trenton makes living in the midst of the cornfields of Middlesex bearable for me!
Trenton has all the makings of a vital city. I have written to all of the city officials, and I hope that they listen and consider my plea not to let the director go without a vital and workable plan to keep all of the scheduled and future arts programs in Trenton alive. As I wrote, “Please, please don’t put your beautiful museums and arts programs on the back burner.”
Drawbridge Drive, Monroe Township
#b#What’s Best Location For Rescue Squad?#/b#
In my view the Valley Road School site is not the best site for the Rescue Squad. Witherspoon Street is an already congested street on a hill where visibility is poor. The site is also very close to Community Park School. And of course, Valley Road School can’t be relocated.
We need to find a way — and many alternatives do exist — to satisfy the needs of the Rescue Squad. The existing Squad facility, now located on North Harrison Street, was surely located there because it was well-situated to serve the community. Additionally, the Squad has purchased the house behind it and seems to have gotten some cooperation on parking from the Shopping Center. Perhaps a deal could be made with the Shopping Center for the Squad to purchase a small amount of additional land if it is needed.
My understanding is that the Squad currently has 4,500 square feet of space. They are asking for 20,000 square feet, which is 4.5 times more than what they have now. Using a conservative construction cost estimate of $250 per square foot, a 20,000 foot building would cost $5 million plus demolition costs of as much as $500,000. Assuming a 20-year bond with a low current interest rate, the cost of repaying the bond plus the interest would be about $430,000 per year for the Rescue Squad on top of its current budget, an enormous additional burden by any standard.
On top of this is the cost of fixtures and furnishings and the additional annual operating and maintenance costs for more than quadruple their existing space, another large burden.
We need to take a hard look at how to most cost-effectively meet the Squad’s needs. Constructing a large, new building on Witherspoon Street is not the answer.
Editor’s note: Thompson is involved in the Valley Road School-Adaptive Reuse Committee (U.S. 1, May 18). The building is scheduled to be razed to make room for — among other uses — an expanded building for the rescue squad.