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Letter: Rehoboth urged to support Clear Space plans

March 15, 2019

I am writing in support of the proposed performing arts center zoning proposal, under discussion by the Rehoboth Planning Commission. 

I am a now-full-time resident of the Rehoboth Beach area following 40-plus years as a part-timer. I love this area, I love the city of Rehoboth Beach, and I love CST. I am one of the annually attending 17,000 patrons of CST. My spouse and I always dine at a Rehoboth Beach restaurant prior to a performance, as do many/most of the CST patrons. We CST patrons bring much to the city - spending money, strolling the Boardwalk and Rehoboth Avenue, finding out about and participating in other Rehoboth Beach events.

The current CST facility is an inadequate space for the theater’s mission. The stage is small and awkward with the large apron needed for the productions jutting into the audience space. The type of plays/musicals selected is limited due to the lack of space for staging and moving scenery. I’m sure you’ve been to CST for a performance and are aware of the amazing job the staff and performers do within the challenges of the current CST - and know that they could do so much more with a more adequate space!

Such is the space that will be provided by the planned CST facility on the western end of Rehoboth Avenue. And, the proposed facility will allow for additional programming and classes, more than currently undertaken. The CST facility will be a new jewel on Rehoboth Avenue. Clear Space Theatre – as the linchpin in a newly created category of performing arts center - can bring much to the western end of Rehoboth Avenue. A mix of residential, performing arts, and commercial establishments is a sign that an area is healthy and vibrant. The proposed 28 garage spaces in the planned CST facility, coupled with on-street metered parking and use of the visitors center lot, make for a sensible solution to the ‘what about parking?’ issue that has cropped up. 

I am familiar with the effect of a performing arts center in a residential neighborhood. Prior to moving to Delaware, I was a 40-year resident of Washington, D.C. For most of that time I lived in the Logan Circle neighborhood – and for the last 20 years around the corner from Studio Theatre and a few blocks from the Source Theatre and Church Street Theatre. These theaters added a vibrancy to the neighborhood, as well as convenience for folks dining in nearby restaurants prior to and following theatrical events. These performing arts centers were much appreciated by their neighbors as well as visitors to the area. 

I urge you to support the creation of a performing arts center zoning category and encourage Clear Space Theatre to build its proposed structure on the western end of Rehoboth Avenue.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Peter J. Pizzolongo
Rehoboth Beach

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