Hamilton City Council will next week consider a report recommending further consultation with the community on options for the future of the Founders Theatre site.
Founders Theatre has been closed since March 2016 due to safety concerns. A report to the 17 September Council meeting recommends presenting three options to the community for feedback.
The first option is to remove the theatre and turn the land into a basic park. Funding was provided for this option through the 2018-28 Long-Term Plan.
The second option is to remove the building and develop the site into a multi-purpose urban park with the potential for different zones, such as a performance area. This is the Council’s preferred option and would require funding through the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan.
The third option is an invitation for groups to submit an alternative proposal that retains the Founders Theatre building. The Council will only consider proposals that can guarantee capital and ongoing costs from non-Council sources.
The Dame Hilda Ross Memorial Fountain in front of the theatre will be retained, whichever option is chosen.
If approved by the Council, community engagement will take place over four weeks later this year.
Founders Theatre sits in the heart of the West Town Belt, an area of green space in central Hamilton that stretches from Lake Rotoroa to Edgecumbe Park. The area incorporates Hamilton Girls’ High School, Seddon Park, the historic Hamilton West Cemetery and FMG Stadium Waikato.
The Council has adopted a West Town Belt masterplan to guide development of the area. The second option proposed to the community – the multi-purpose park – will support the vision of the masterplan, which is to create a dynamic, connected and treasured inner-city destination for everyone.