A few years ago the Economic Development Committee was studying the idea that we should tailor a zoning district to promote compatible uses in Dennis Village that would strengthen the arts in the village and provide a conforming zoning status for the Cape Cod Center for the Arts (the Cape Playhouse property). The proposal was met with opposition in the neighborhood and shelved.
At the time the Cape Cod Center for the Arts was locked in similar financial straits as the North Shore Music Theater. Yesterday it was announced that the North Shore Music Theater will shut its doors, failing to raise the funds needed to support another season of shows at this venue. You can read the Boston Globe story here.
While the Cape Playhouse and the Cape Cod Center for the Arts may not be in the same condition as the North Shore Music Theater, funding in the current recession for theater programs and other charitable programs have been hard hit. Quite likely the North Shore Music Theater property will be sold off for development to pay a portion of its $10 million debt. Such a sale will drastically change the area of Beverly where the theater is located. Imagine if a similar fate faced Dennis and the Cape Playhouse property!
It may be time to rethink the Cultural Arts Zoning District proposal and see if a common understanding of the future of Dennis Village can be created.