Slumland Theater has a new lease on life — figuratively and literally.
Last May, the youth-oriented musical entertainment centre received approval from Red Deer’s municipal planning commission to operate out of the basement at 4732 Ross St. However, the commission put a one-year timeline on its approval, so that the decision could be reviewed.
Slumland has since showcased live bands and operated a small retail store, and become a popular gathering place for young teens.
But in April, owner Desiree Marshall confirmed that she was unable to renew her lease on the premises and Slumland would have to close.
The outlook improved early last week, when Marshall revealed that she had come to terms with her landlord. That included leasing the upper floor of the building for an art gallery and studio called A Whittle Piece of U.
Then on Wednesday, the municipal planning commission voted unanimously to allow Slumland to continue operating. A number of letters in support of the business were received from musicians, youths and parents.
“This is the only all-ages venue in Red Deer that allows teenagers the freedom of listening to their type of music, the creativity to join in and play in front of their peers, and a place to hang out with their friends,” wrote one mother.
The commission also heard that the RCMP and Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission have no concerns about Slumland, there have been no complaints from neighbours, and noise tests have indicated that sounds from the building do not carry outside.
Inspections and Licensing Department staff pointed out that the operations there are consistent with the intent of the Greater Downtown Action Plan.
Marshall said the basement space will be used to display and sell the work of local artists, and also as a jam space for musicians, and for recording and performing.
Monthly music events will be held for adults, with liquor to be served at these.