By Owen Woods |

BOB Richards and his company Buffalo Broadcasting will begin negotiations with the City of Monte Vista for the Vali 3 Theater. The Monte Vista City Council voted to begin negotiations with Richards for a one-year lease with the option to purchase, after a public hearing Thursday night. 

Richards’ was one of two proposals presented to the city following a request for proposals. The Nazarene Church also presented to the city council. The city owns the theater and it is currently maintained and operated by a non-profit, Friends of the Vali 3. 

The Nazarene Church proposed to purchase the property outright and manage the building renovations itself. In their proposal, it sought to use the building as another location for its ministry services. The church planned to open a coffee shop inside and use the theater screens to show Christian and family-friendly movies. 

Richards’ proposal aims to make the Vali 3 a beacon of entertainment in downtown Monte Vista. He wants to use all three screens to show a wide range of films and shows: senior matinees, children’s matinees, Christian films, Spanish-language films, big-ticket sports games, local sports, Creede Repertory Theatre shows, and live concerts. He also wants to use the building for additional broadcasting space for his catalog of radio stations.

At the meeting, Richards listed six or so movies: Everything Everywhere All at Once, Moonlight, Spotlight, and CODA. He asked the audience what all of them had in common. They were all Oscar winners, he said. Then he asked again what they all had in common. Succinctly, Richards said, “not one of those films played in Monte Vista.” 

Richards’ plan also lists a liquor license, as he wishes to serve alcohol to film and event goers. 

A dozen or more people provided their feedback and which proposal they favored. The comments were overwhelmingly in support of Richards’ proposal. Although he had support from the room, those voices of support did have issues with his proposal. Those issues mainly touched on the one-year lease, rather than an outright purchase, which residents felt put an undue burden on the city, which would still be responsible for the building. 

Richards said the one-year lease provides him the necessary time to develop a solid plan to address needed repairs and renovations. “The lease purchase affords me the opportunity to zero in on exactly what kind of money we need to finance the theaters,” he said. In his proposal, he estimated that costs could range from $150,000 to $402,000. 

Really, though, the residents who spoke in favor were other local business owners who said that of the two proposals, Richards’ was the only truly viable “business plan.” These business owners spoke on how though The Nazarene Church’s place in the community is invaluable, Monte Vista needs businesses that are turning a profit. 

One business owner said that having other local businesses only enhances those around it. 

A longtime resident said, “The city will never make it if we don’t do something to support it.”