Two local organization heavyweights, Fresno Reel Pride and Fresno Filmworks issued a joint statement regarding the historic Tower Theatre and iconic film venue Tower Theatre. In short, a local church with roots in a national religious organization with deep pockets, has been attempting to purchase the theatre. This would have some pretty significant implications for local business and our local LGBTQ film festival. Here is the statement in its entirety…
A few weeks ago I got wind of a troubling rumor that a conservative church was trying to buy the historic Tower Theatre and turn it into a church. Obviously, this would be an alarming development for our local gay community if they were successful in doing so. Giving an anti-gay religious organization, of any kind, a foot hold in the Tower would be no less than a fly in the apothecary of tolerance and safety of the area. The longer term impacts on our local LGBTQ film festival and our local pride celebration could be no less than disastrous. If you want to read that original post you can do so here. After making some phone calls and sending out some emails to shake the bush some to see what fell out I was elated to see some drastic developments in this local saga reported by GV Wire earlier today.
The city of Fresno is ordering the current owners of the Tower Theatre to prevent Adventure Church from holding indoor services. This is an addition to a memo from Fresno’s new city manager indicating that the church — which is in escrow to purchase the theater — would need to obtain a zoning change to hold services at the iconic venue in the future. Since the news broke this week about the theater’s sale, many in the community have expressed concern that not only a house of worship could soon take over, but the effect it may have on other Tower District businesses. Generally, city regulations prohibit the sale of alcohol and legal cannabis in close proximity to a church. GV Wire℠ has been able to confirm that the sale of the Tower Theatre to Adventure Church is expected to close at the end of January.David Taub, GV Wire
It’s unclear to me at this point if the sale of the property and buildings can be blocked but I am happy this all is coming into the light of day and that the City of Fresno is getting actively involved. We’ll be sure to keep our ear to the ground and keep you all informed.
I heard a very disturbing rumor last night and it really bothered me. There is apparently a sale being quietly brokered of the historic Tower Theatre on the corner of Olive and Wishon avenues. On pretty good authority it seems that Adventure Church, a conservative anti-gay group, who has been having church services at the perennial historic landmark on Sundays is trying to purchase the building out right.
This really turns my stomach for a whole range of reasons but let me itemize of few of them really quick…
- If the Tower Theatre is a bona-fide historical landmark can a church group just write a check and purchase it with no notice, no accountability to the neighborhood, or any public hearings?
- What impact would this have on our local gay film festival?
- Is the building properly zoned for use by a church?
- What impact might this have on our local gay pride parade that usually culminates on the corner of Olive and Wishon avenues right in front of the theatre?
- Where in the hell does a local non-profit church group get the $6.5M to make such a purchase with no one noticing?
Again, let me reiterate that as of this morning, this might all be just a bunch of malarkey churned out of the Great Rumor Mill in the sky…but I promise you on the grave of the old Queer Fresno, we will help get to the bottom of this. If you have any information on this disturbing rumor please drop us a line and let us know. You can also register on this site and leave a comment below.