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Reader's view: This is a golden opportunity to invigorate downtown, generate new revenue

Duluth has a golden opportunity to further invigorate its downtown entertainment district by purchasing the legendary NorShor Theatre. Look no further than how both the State and Orpheum theaters in Minneapolis, at one time both slated for demoli...

Duluth has a golden opportunity to further invigorate its downtown entertainment district by purchasing the legendary NorShor Theatre.

Look no further than how both the State and Orpheum theaters in Minneapolis, at one time both slated for demolition, now bring thousands of people to Hennepin Avenue on any given night to experience theater, music and special events. Apart from adding revenue to the city and its adjoining businesses, the theaters add a dimension known as quality of life. The theaters are attractive to residents and tourists.

The NorShor's best days are ahead. With the advent of the digital age, there's no reason why shows of all kinds couldn't be digitally recorded, archived and broadcast from that historic stage, bringing revenue. Or as A Prairie Home Companion recently proved, you can broadcast shows from the NorShor to paying customers at other theaters across America. Imagine people across the globe paying for and viewing or downloading shows on their cell phones, computers or home theater systems with a credit card. It's happening now, and there's no reason why the NorShor couldn't ride this digital wave, creating new revenue streams while advertising the Zenith City in the process.

We are living in troubling times, in a world of small and toxic ideas, where random acts of violence once unheard of are now commonplace. We are witnessing the daily coarsening of popular culture, and our national political dialogue is at a breaking point. We must do everything we can to right this sinking ship. To keep the NorShor Theatre as a place where the community can come together hundreds at a time, to witness the beauty, truth and healing power of art, music, theater and dance, can be a powerful step in the right direction. You cannot put a price on it.

Paul Metsa

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Minneapolis

The writer is a seven-time Minnesota Music Award winner who played his first show under his own name at Duluth's NorShor Theatre in 1984.

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