Grand Lake Town Board’s concerns prompt theatre company to take Eslick Motor Court out of play |

Grand Lake Town Board’s concerns prompt theatre company to take Eslick Motor Court out of play

Tonya Bina
Grand County, Colorado
Courtesy photo

The Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre board has opted to take the historic Eslick Motor Court building in Grand Lake off the negotiating table, at least for now.

Theatre board members unanimously decided to “continue evaluating” the motor court site in light of last Monday’s town board meeting when Town Trustee Tom Weydert, supported by other members of the town board, voiced concern that the building could be moved.

“We learned a lot at the meeting on Monday,” said Repertory Theatre Managing Director Chad Scott.

“Some of the (town) board members had a feeling that they wanted it to stay, and upon learning that, we decided to re-evaluate,” he said. “We’re back to square one.”

In its decision, board members informed the Grand Lake Area Historical Society that its Oct. 14 deadline for accepting a deal to buy the historic building for $1 and moving it from Repertory property had expired and would not be extended.

Repertory Theatre Executive Director Carol Wolff, Repertory board president Judy Jensen, as well as Scott, were present at last Monday’s meeting, along with several Historical Society board members.

After listening to what the town and Society board members had to say, Scott said the theatre has decided to reconsider its direction and “make a judgment based on all concerns.

“We take pride on listening to all parities and doing what’s best for Grand Lake. We really care about how this is going to come out,” Scott said.

Trustee Weydert had suggested the Repertory board look into keeping the building on-site to help preserve its historic integrity.

Theatre officials have voiced their concerns that building a multi-story theatre next door to the old building may not only endanger it during construction, but could affect its integrity by having a much larger new building overshadowing it.

The Repertory Theatre’s plans are coming along, with fundraising at 44 percent of its $5.5 million goal for building a new theatre. Theatre officials are hoping to break ground next spring and stage the theatre’s first performance by 2011.

“Our mission is to enrich the performing arts in Grand County, and we continue working on that mission,” Scott said.

In regard to the Eslick Motor Court on one of three lots owned by the Repertory Theatre, which acquired the land in 2007, the town “wanted to know if all solutions were fully exhausted,” said Grand Lake Town Manager Shane Hale about last Monday’s meeting. The town questioned Repertory officials whether allowing the motor court to remain was “feasible and practical.”

“The town doesn’t really have any vested interest in this other than hoping that this motor court in one way or another can be saved,” Hale said. “It’s my impression that the Repertory Theatre has done a lot of work on this, lost a lot of sleep, has put a lot of effort into doing research on the motor court and has weighed their options.

“As long as these two groups (Historical Society and Repertory Theatre) can continue to talk and work together, we’ll not only end up with a great theater, but also with the motor court being preserved somewhere in town,” he said. “I’d like to see both come into fruition.”

It’s guessed the Eslick Motor Court was built between 1912 and 1915. The bark-sided building on Grand Lake’s Grand Avenue is an early example of the types of lodging buildings that accommodated automobiles as well as guests, the precursor to the modern motel, and is deemed to be the oldest example of a “cottage court” unaltered and still standing today in Colorado.

The building is one of several on the Grand Lake Area Historical Society’s “Historic Walking Tour.”

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail

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