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Proposed DeWitt Building Preservation and Community Uses

DeWitt Theater (Phase I) - The DeWitt Theater has always served the community as a film and live performance venue. Community theater venues of this size are in high demand. Seating approximately 230 people, the DeWitt Theater is similar in size to the popular historic Finnish Temperance Hall Theater in Rocklin, CA.

DeWitt Senior Center Buildings (Phase II) - Adjoining the DeWitt Theater, the former Senior Center buildings would provide needed storage and practice space to support the theater. These buildings can also be used to provide community meeting and classroom space. Project viability depends on future negotiations with the County.

DeWitt Auditorium (Phase III)- The DeWitt Auditorium originally hosted holiday events, USO performers and dances. Utilizing the DeWitt Auditorium as a community event/conference center will help meet local demand for community center space as well as act as a demand generator for the proposed on-site hotel. The DeWitt Auditorium would be comparable in size to the successful historic Blue Goose Event Center in Loomis, CA. Project viability depends on future negotiations with the County.

DeWitt pool (Phase III)– The DeWitt pool has continuously served the Auburn community until recently. Refurbishing the pool would provide residents with a more affordable and needed recreational facility. Due to airport overflight restrictions and lack of public land elsewhere, the DeWitt center may be the only feasible location for a pool in North Auburn.

The proposed DeWitt building renovations would provide up to 30,000 square feet of community use facilities which is 1.0% of the surplus land earmarked for private development at the DeWitt Center.

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Why Preserve and Reuse DeWitt Buildings?

  • Restoration is usually significantly less expensive than new construction
  • Historic rehabilitation generates more domestic jobs than other industries, including new construction
  • On average, there is a $33: $1 Return on Investment for historic preservation projects
  • A greater percentage of money invested in historic rehabilitation becomes household income, benefiting the local economy
  • Preserves an iconic and significant piece of Auburn’s history
  • Visitors to heritage sites stay longer and spend more money locally per day when compared to visitors at non-historic areas
  • Historic preservation is a proven key component to successful community revitalization
  • Land costs are minimal since the County purchased the DeWitt property from the state for $1

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Constraints of New Construction Versus Building Renovation at DeWitt

The market study and EIR prepared for the PCGC/DeWitt Center master plan and the Placer County Multi-Generational Community Center Feasibility study made the following conclusions:

  • The high cost of new construction is an economic constraint for implementing the recently approved master plan for the Placer County Government Center/DeWitt.
  • The County’s master plan sets the land uses for the site and the County is now in the process of considering more detailed plans for areas of the DeWitt Center so they should be urged to include the theater, former senior center, auditorium and pool in those plans.
  • Estimated construction costs for a new community center ($18 million), aquatics center ($3.5 to 5 million), and a Black Box Theater ($5.5 million) at DeWitt. Utilizing existing facilities with minimal improvements at Parkside Church ($250K to $1million), adding classrooms, a gym, and a performing arts center to the church complex ($3.5 to 5 million). Parkside Church has airport overflight restrictions. (Note: the option of restoring the existing buildings at DeWitt was never evaluated even though it would not have overflight restrictions nor the high construction costs associated with new construction.)
  • The region is in particularly short supply of conference/meeting space. A community/conference center would provide a community service while simultaneously acting as a demand generator for an on-site hotel. (Note: the proposed 30,000 square foot new community center is not expected to be constructed for another 16-20 years.)
  • Demand generators will benefit economic and private development. (Note: the master plan’s main demand generator is the proposed new community center in the last development phase of 16-20 years.)
  • The commercial retail market in Auburn is saturated, there is no demonstrated need for additional retail development.

KAHI News with Wes Woodland and Ramona Brockman share their vision of DCC

Join Casey Freelove on KAHI Radio or KAHI.com today at 4:30 p.m. PST as he interviews Wes Woodland and Ramona Brockman about the DeWitt Community Complex vision to restore the historic DeWitt Theater & how to help create a community destination center.

Posted by Dewitt Community Complex/Preserve Dewitt Legacy on Friday, December 13, 2019
I believe that such a Community Complex is a real benefit to the North Auburn area and residents.
Christine Turner
For more information, email preservedewittlegacy@gmail.com.
Q

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