Progress Amidst the Pandemic

First level of temporary gravel on parking lot.

Progress Amidst the Pandemic

By: The LaSalle Theatre Team

Travelers headed north along East 185th Street over the past two months have likely seen a lot of activity on the south side of the LaSalle building. The much-needed expansion of the parking lot is in full swing. A temporary gravel installation is now expected to be in place by the end of April. This exciting progress, along with the momentum the LaSalle had gained, had been interrupted by the impact of Covid-19, which caused the cancellation of all events in the theatre space through May 31st.   

While we are all waiting for the instructions on how Ohio will implement a phased approach to re-opening businesses, the LaSalle has moved into “Phase II” of renovations and started acquiring amenities that will contribute greatly to our function. The aforementioned parking lot expansion will double the number of parking spaces in the lot. A Green Infrastructure Grant award from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will create a green parking lot on the site post-demolition (see schematic drawing). Being able to provide onsite parking, in addition to lots made available for events by East 185th Street partners, will allow for guests to park safely and close to the LaSalle building.

Three other major additions are in the works. The first – thanks to the generous support of Councilman Polensek – is the addition of a commercial kitchen that will allow caterers to prepare food onsite and will increase our capacity for full scale events. We are also investigating the possibility for this to serve as a community access kitchen for small food businesses. The second set of improvements are a custom designed sound system, theatrical lighting, soft goods (curtains) onstage, and a projector with motorized screen.  Last, and certainly not least, are tables and chairs. Being able to offer tables and chairs to our rental clients is a game changer and puts us on a level playing field with other local venues.

While we are not ignorant to what is going on in the world with the pandemic, we know that it is important for us to continue to work towards a sustainable future for the LaSalle. With guidance from NSDC President, Caroline Peak and Elva Brodnick, Secretary, the LaSalle Team - comprised of staff from Greater Collinwood Development Corporation, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, New Village Corporation, and two professional arts and event industry consultants - will be pursuing a visioning process over the next month. That work will include finding ways to reach out to the community to tap ideas for an enhanced use of the event space post-COVID.  Despite current cancellations and postponed events, we know there is light at the end of this. With the LaSalle Theatre equipped with its new amenities and clear vision to come, we are confident the Theatre will be ready for the momentum coming our way.

Lauren Calevich

A historic, multi-disciplinary arts center that offers a very unique and flexible event space.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 5:54 PM, 05.07.2020