.Save the Phoenix Theater!

From opera house to movie theater to rock and roll venue and teen center, the Phoenix Theater in downtown Petaluma has become an institution and invaluable community resource in Sonoma County. Now, the venue needs the community’s help to stay open.
Recently, the Phoenix was given notice by the city that a modern sprinkler system would have to be installed by next April to keep operating. In addition, the century-old building has long needed a new roof, and now the two combined expenses threaten to be more than the venue can handle.
Thankfully, the community has already come out to help the space remain open, with recent donations including $50k raised from this year’s Lagunitas Beer Circus, $50k donated from Petaluma Market and $40k coming from an anonymous source. But, there’s still a long way to go.
Yesterday, the Phoenix launched a GoFundMe crowdsourcing fundraiser for the $250k that’s still needed to safely and quickly make the necessary repairs and infrastructure updates. In less than a day, the GoFundMe has already topped $10k in donations and is trending on the website. Now, it’s time for the whole community to come out and lend a hand. Click here to help save the Phoenix Theater, and read the full statement from Phoenix booking manger Jim Agius below.

Phoenix friends and family,
20 years ago, the Phoenix Theater almost closed permanently due to the high cost of seismic retrofitting work required by the state. A group of community members teamed up to gather the money required because they didn’t want to live in a Petaluma without the Phoenix. The work was completed and the Phoenix was able to continue carrying out its mission. We now face a similar moment and could use your help.
We recently received a notice from the City of Petaluma in regards to the fire sprinkler ordinance in downtown Petaluma. They are asking that the Phoenix have fire sprinklers installed by April 2019. Failure to do so will result in fines and potential closure.
The price of the sprinkler job alone is $185k – this does not include the construction costs to repair the building after the sprinklers are installed.
The building has also been in need of a new roof for a long time ($90k for the three levels) and has reached the point where leaks could could cause structural damage if further delayed.
We have raised $140k so far for these jobs – $50k from Lagunitas from their Beer Circus events, $50k from Petaluma Market and an incoming $40k from a community member who wants to help.
In all, our goal is to raise another $250k to safely get both projects done. Any additional amount raised will go toward other building improvements.
This is a moment of great need for the Phoenix – the most pressing one since the Phoenix nearly closed for good in 1999.
The Phoenix has been everyone’s building since it was constructed as the Hill Opera House in 1904. We want to make sure it can continue serving the community for generations to come. Every every dollar and every share helps. Thanks for taking the time to read this and for being a friend of the Phoenix.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
North Bay Bohemian E-edition North Bay Bohemian E-edition