Thanks for the many thoughtful replies to my call for input on 51 Main. I have continued to think about these comments and 51 Main’s evolving role in our community. It is clear that 51 Main provides an important social outlet for students and gathering place for faculty, staff, and townspeople. More than a bar or restaurant, the venue has become a catalyst for a variety of cultural and artistic activities, which I think is good for both the College and our town. It’s worth noting that during the past year 51 Main has reduced its monthly deficits by more than 75%—a significant achievement for a new enterprise in such a short period of time. These financial gains come close to meeting the expectations of the BOC recommendation that I accepted just over a year ago.
Given these developments, plus the fact that 51 Main’s operating deficits have been covered and will continue to be funded if needed by a generous donor for up to three years, I have decided that 51 Main should remain open. We will continue to push for more financial accountability so the business can pay for itself without the support of a donor, and we will review the venue’s status on a regular basis, as we do with the Grille, the Snow Bowl, and our other auxiliary operations. Meanwhile, I hope many of you will take advantage of what such a large number of blog posters (plus many who sent e-mails to me) have cited as such a valuable addition to the town and College.