Michael Deeds: Garden City, it is time for you to learn how to rock

mdeeds@idahostatesman.comSeptember 20, 2013 

The Lumineers, Revolution Concert House, entertainment

The Lumineers rock the Revolution Concert House in Garden City in May.

DARIN OSWALD — doswald@idahostatesman.com

Based on an email I received from a Garden City Council member several months ago, Boise’s smoking-and-adult-video-store-friendly little bro is sensitive about its image.

If that’s truly the case, I’d expect city leaders to figure out a way to smooth things out with the Revolution Concert House and Event Center, which opened late summer in 2012. Last weekend’s front-page Idaho Statesman story, “Revolution Center, Garden City try to live in harmony,” makes a guy wonder just what city leaders are thinking.

The City of Gardens has become way cooler lately — really! — thanks to an influx of craft breweries, the new Crooked Fence Barrelhouse eatery and, yes, the rockin’ RevCenter.

Yet Garden City seems flummoxed by — even resistant to —some of this newfound success.

Here’s the article’s jaw dropper: Garden City has billed the RevCenter more than $40,000 to cover overtime pay for police — often unwanted, unnecessary police. It makes sense to park a car outside when Bone Thugs-N-Harmony comes to town; gotta keep those Idaho gangsta wannabes in check. But what in the world are Garden City’s finest doing patrolling a mellow John Hiatt show attended by 500 people, then billing the RevCenter $876.43 in OT? Or lurking outside a fundraiser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness that featured a Beatles tribute band, and whipping up a bill for $1,045.72?

Why is Garden City trying to pass the buck on civil services costs, anyway? What are our taxes for? If Garden City already approved the RevCenter’s conditional-use permit for a capacity of 4,400 people, and the RevCenter then lowered that number to 2,200, how can police not handle five or six events a month?

Boise’s 999-capacity Knitting Factory Concert House manages to get along just fine without Boise police rolling in constantly and sending it a stream of bills. This is how things should be, Garden City.

The OT bills keep coming, but the RevCenter has stopped paying them. One commenter at IdahoStatesman.com noted that the situation early on — when Garden City denied alcohol catering permits to the RevCenter — “smells of extortion.”

Making things trickier, noise complaints have been an issue. This surprised me. (Have you ever been to the busy intersection of Glenwood and Chinden?)

Neighbors now say things have improved, but Garden City quietly passed a new “disorderly premises” ordinance that seems aimed directly at the RevCenter.

In the article, Garden City’s police chief said, “We need to make this work.” Yet the two sides have not met since the article published, even though the RevCenter requested a meeting with city officials this week.

Seriously, Garden City: Don’t be that town from “Footloose.” You DO need to make this work.

Oh, and P.S., G.C.: Open up that Greenbelt section to bicycles, for crying out loud!

Signed, Your Holier-Than-Thou Pals in Gigantic Boise.

RETURN OF CRAZY HORSE?

Boise’s tattoo-lovin’ indie-punk bar The Red Room is for sale, without a liquor license and hoping to go all-ages.

“I’m looking for the right person to kind of take it over,” says owner Mitch Thompson. “We’re coming up on our (lease) term. I think it’s about time somebody in the community steps up and kind of finishes what we started.”

Beginning this week, The Red Room, 1519 W. Main St., is only open on a show-by-show basis. The Red Room’s three-year lease ends Dec. 1, but Thompson says he probably would keep it open month-to-month after that if he still needed to find the right buyer.

Thompson sold the bar’s liquor license last week, but The Red Room is still an over-21 venue. Beer and wine will continue to be available.

“It’ll be announced formally once we have an all-ages endorsement,” Thompson says.

Still, there are no guarantees. It’s possible that the space could wind up as a new nightclub entirely. Before it became The Red Room, it was hippie-friendly Terrapin Station. Before that, JD’s & Friends.

If the club does go all-ages, I say they name it Crazy Horse again. That music mecca, which brought in acts ranging from Mudhoney to Korn in the early 1990s, is a memory that still makes graying alt-rockers and punks smile.

Michael Deeds’ column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. He co-hosts “The Other Studio” at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River and appears Thursdays on Channel 6 News.

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