The March 23 article announcing the re-opening of the D & R Theatre is a very welcome sign that the community still has some life and hope.
John Yonich, having made a comfortable life for himself and his family, partly from business investments and people within Grays Harbor, chose to return to the area and to invest in the community.
He is showing his appreciation in a manner that many persons and businesses that have made themselves comfortable from the resources and people who make up the community obviously do not — he invested his money HERE! The outpouring of support from the community at large obviously helped — both in terms of making some officials consider their roles in what was nearly lost and also in terms of validating John’s decision to invest in Grays Harbor.
However, I am extremely critical of Mayor Simpson stating that many people concerned about the closure hadn’t actually been to any shows. “If you really want to support someone, go to the theater,” he said.
That type of thinking implies that only people who have had a fire or needed to call an ambulance would vote for an EMS levy. Really? Is the mayor totally oblivious to what John’s investment in the downtown Aberdeen area (several blocks of buildings needing attention) was attempting to start? A little pride in the community is surely welcome.
On the evening of the very first concert, a friend stated that he had driven through the downtown core and actually enjoyed seeing groups of people dressed up for the show walking in the vicinity of the theatre — it was almost like a real community. Other than parking outside of Billy’s or one of the other one or two businesses that cater to people with a few bucks to spend and going directly inside the establishment, when was the last time groups of people actually walked one or two blocks in downtown Aberdeen in the evening? With continued support from the community and businessmen like John Yonich leading by example, perhaps Aberdeen can become a city with a vibrant downtown core.
Wouldn’t that be something?