by Graham S. Jones, II
The Super Block is a good idea, but it requires government funding and support which will be wonderful if and when it is obtained. In the interim, Riverspace, a great venue, is closed. The wonderful theater needs to be rescued by people with dedication to volunteering to operate the theater and the assistance of those with deep pockets.
The 1869 Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie was saved by Steve and Julia Dunwell, individuals who acquired the building and operated it themselves. Someone needs to step up and perform the same services for Rivrespace as the Dunwells, Edward and Theodora Hoe and former Mayor Art Weinberg provided in Poughkeepsie.
Riverspace needs to be in the hands of a non-profit and operated as an independent theater. Down the road, the development of a parking structure and other amenities are key to revitalization of the downtown of Nyack, as they were to the revitalization of Poughkeepsie. In my 14 plus years as Planning Board chairman of the City of Poughkeepsie, our friendships with the Dunwells and the Hoes provided the spark that saved the Bardavon.
Rockland County needs to save its jewel on the Hudson. Waiting for the government agencies to act may risk lead to loss of the value of the Riverspace theater and lead to deterioration of the physical plant of the theater as plans are reviewed for possibly years on end as long delays in securing funding block early reopening of the theater.