Town hopes to reopen multi-use facility shortly
The Winthrop Town Council and staff are making slight adjustments to usage fees for the Winthrop Barn, now that the town has taken over management of the multi-use facility.
The Barn has been closed to activities since early in 2020 because of COVID-related concerns. Until recently, the nonprofit Winthrop Auditorium Association had operated the facility under a contract with the town. The town and Auditorium Association ended that agreement in June 2021.
Town staff is now handling reservation requests, in hopes of reopening soon. Plans call for the town to hire a full-time manager for the Barn as soon as possible.
The Town Council reviewed existing fees at its meeting last week and made some minor adjustments. For the most part, usage fees will remain the same through 2021, but will be revised for 2022.
Because the town is now directly operating the Barn, and municipalities are prohibited by law from making monetary “gifts,” usage of the Barn will no longer be free for memorial events. Also, the town cannot offer discounts to residents, for the same reason.
Town Clerk Michelle Gaines said potential users are making reservations for when the Barn reopens.
“The space is already lined up,” she said. Gaines said the town will soon advertise for the manager position.
When the coronavirus restrictions were imposed last year, all the concerts, meetings, weddings and other gatherings that would have filled the Barn had to cancel their bookings. Other major happenings including the Winthrop Kiwanis Bite of the Methow, the annual gathering of the Zumiez sales staff, Winthrop ’49er Days and the Winthrop Vintage Wheels Show all canceled their Barn dates. The annual Christmas at the End of the Road appearance of Santa Claus was also canceled, as was the holiday shopping bazaar. Other Barn regulars such as the monthly “First Tuesday” meeting of the Methow Conservancy and monthly meetings of the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce went virtual.
The Winthrop Town Council returned to “live meetings” in the Hen House room of the barn for its meeting last week.
For information, call 996-2320.