Jane Grantham has always had an affinity for writing, starting from a young age. She grew up in Yreka, and will be attending Yreka High School as a senior, age 17, this fall. Over the course of her educational years, she has grown both academically and personally, participating keenly in subjects such as english and history, with a soft spot for creative writing. She enjoys involving herself with her local high school theatre, marching band, and yearbook. Jane hopes that, once she graduates, she will see the world, find a passion worth pursuing for the rest of her life, and most of all, be able to tell her stories to the world.
Coming soon, to a theater near you … If we had one, that is. But as of 2012, Yreka has been sans an operational movie theater open to the public. The vacant building that used to house the theater has been sitting directly off of Miner Street for close to eight years, windows painted over and the remains of billboard letters still left on the sign. In order to see the newest box office movies now, families and friend groups must travel 45 minutes or more to Mount Shasta, Ashland, or Medford. For some, this journey isn’t possible, let alone ideal.
An issue that seems to have arisen in Yreka in recent years is the closure of teenage social hangouts around town. Places like Ringe Pool, Brickhouse Pizza Parlor, and other local shops have disappeared, replaced by businesses not targeted toward youths. Of course, there’s always the McDonalds or Starbucks, but there’s only so much fries and coffee you can consume. Likewise, Yreka does have a bowling alley, which is frequented often by kids, families and teens, but that’s about it. Seasonal events also come and go; the Siskiyou Golden Fair, Gold Rush Days, Summer Concerts in the Park, Homecoming. The majority of these occasions only last a few fleeting days or are exclusive to certain times of the year. Yearlong activities, however, remain rare. With these options few and far between, teenagers resort to watching Netflix all day or skipping town to try and find some fun.
Yet sitting on Broadway Street is a building full of potential and possibility. It hasn’t been occupied since its closure, and its days of being an operational cinema has become a faded memory. But the Broadway Twin is far from a hopeless cause. In fact, the possible benefits that would come with reopening the Theater would prove positive and resourceful for the community of Yreka.
For highschoolers, it’s a win. The reopening of the theater would produce new job opportunities for teenagers seeking working experience. It would be a fresh change from the hiring hotspot that lives on the far side of town; establishments such as Raley’s, Walmart, Taco Bell and other fast food restaurants are the main contenders for hiring highschoolers. But to have a business located closer to residential areas would be less of a burden to kids who want jobs but are unable to find a means of transportation to reach the mainstream businesses.The Theater would offer a new place for teenager-friendly employment, a source of revenue, and entertainment.
For families, it’s an advantage. Imagine being able to catch an afternoon showing of the latest box office hit, or maybe even a throwback 80s or 90s flick. The kids would be able to get out of the house and go to a safe place to spend their time. And for the parents, it would be a welcome return of the movie date-night, available without having to drive from Yreka to the closest movie theater, which just so happens to be almost an hour away.
For the community, it’s an asset. Movie theaters are popular venues that everyone, everywhere, has been to at least once. This attraction is something tourists and locals alike can enjoy, and would also give back to the town. As an additional plus, the theater is located right next to the historic heart of our town. A locale such as this would draw more attention to Miner Street and some of the other brick and mortar shops located away from the junction of mainstream stores and restaurants.
Naturally, there are obstacles. The reason that the Broadway Twin was shut down initially was due, in part, to funding problems for the required upgrade of the projectors. Money was a point of contention then and it would definitely still be a hurdle to overcome now. Since the theater has been closed for almost a decade, it would undoubtedly be a bit of a fixer upper. But this feat is within our community’s reach. It would take effort, time, determination, and of course, money. These concerns are all worthwhile, and should be taken into account. The foremost issue now is simply how to approach them.
Our options on this vary. There are multiple solutions that can be applied to the problem of funding and restoration. However, most of the answers (or the beginnings to an answer) are right in front of us. Our community is invested in the well-being of our town and the people who live in it, and a majority of its residents are connected to organizations and nonprofits that have supported endeavors just like this one in years past. Even high school clubs –Interact being the most prominent – actively participate in community service and town projects. There are people in this town who would keenly support the reestablishment of the Broadway Twin. It’s just a matter of reaching out to them and breaching the possibilities.
I don’t want to drive 40 minutes to watch a movie. You probably don’t, either. We have the means, as a town and as a community, to at the very least consider the upsides this theater could bring us. And there are upsides. This one building could bring us so many benefits socially and economically. This is an investment worth the dollars and labor necessary to make the wish a reality. I’m a senior at YHS, and the chance that I’ll see the theater reopened during my remaining time in Yreka is slim. Still, the thought that future generations would be able to walk downtown and catch a movie makes me yearn to give substance to this all too achievable daydream. I could write on and on about this ambition, but for now, I’ll see you all further down the line. My hope is that we can all go out and catch a movie. Until then …
That’s all, folks!