Triumvirate Theatre President Joe Rizzo testifies before the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Triumvirate Theatre President Joe Rizzo testifies before the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

‘It really could transform this community’

Kenai approves transfer of land to Triumvirate Theatre

Efforts to rebuild Triumvirate Theatre took another step forward on Wednesday after the Kenai City Council voted unanimously to donate a piece of city land on which the organization will build a new theater facility. The land is about 2 acres in size and is located near Daubenspeck Family Park and the Kenai Walmart.

Triumvirate’s previous theater burned in a fire earlier this year, prompting a swift community effort to help the group rebuild. A benefit concert for the theater is scheduled for Friday in Ninilchik and will feature country singer Bryan White and the Yale Whiffenpoofs, an a cappella group.

Multiple community members testified in support of the land donation during the Kenai City Council’s June 16 meeting, including Kenai Peninsula Borough Economic Development District Executive Director Tim Dillon, who said it would bring economic benefits to Kenai, and Kate Cox, 12, who performs with Triumvirate.

Many council members also voiced their support for the donation during that meeting, however, a final vote was scheduled for July 7 to allow time for the Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission to review the legislation. A June 24 memo from Kenai Planning Director Ryan Foster to the council said the commission recommended approval of the donation.

Triumvirate Theatre President Joe Rizzo has called the donation of land from the City of Kenai a “critical” element of a Tier 2 grant application the theater plans to submit to the Rasmuson Foundation. Triumvirate is currently using a Tier 1 grant from the foundation in the amount of $25,000 for architectural and design efforts.

Rizzo said during testimony before the council on Wednesday that he recently traveled and could tell the difference between communities that took advantage of the things that made them unique and those that did not.

“I was thinking a lot about this facility being in Kenai and how, with the right vision, it really could transform this community into one that really nurtures kids and really can make a big economic impact on the community and on businesses here,” Rizzo said.

Conceptual designs for the new theater facility shared by Rizzo with the council on Wednesday describe a 120-seat theater with balcony seating and high-ceiling lobby, which Rizzo told the council will make the space feel bigger without taking up additional square footage. He added that balcony seating offers a unique appeal for patrons, who are often willing to pay more for those seats.

“When I am working with the architects on this, I am very, very excited about the possibility of seeing this vision realized,” Rizzo said. “I think that it will be a facility unlike any other in Kenai.”

In voting to support the donation, council members cited the cultural value the theater will bring to Kenai and the role the land donation will play in helping secure additional grant funds for the theater.

“I look at this as a huge investment in the future of our community and the youth in our community,” said council member Glenese Pettey.

“I am happy to support this,” said council member Teea Winger. “I am excited to bring you into the City of Kenai.”

The council voted unanimously to support the donation. Wednesday’s full council meeting can be viewed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

More in News

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Board of Fish proposals center on king salmon, east side setnet fishery

Many proposals describe changes to the Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Senior Prom King and Queen Dennis Borbon and Lorraine Ashcraft are crowned at the 2023 High Roller Senior Prom at Aspen Creek Senior Living in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023.
Senior prom crowns king and queen

In brainstorming options, the concept of putting on a prom turned some heads

A photo distributed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows a man who allegedly robbed the Global Credit Union branch located in Anchorage, Sept. 19, 2023. Tyler Ching, 34, was arrested last week on charges related to robberies at the credit union and an Anchorage bank. (Photo courtesy Federal Bureau of Investigation)
Alleged bank robber arrested in Cooper Landing

An Anchorage resident was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in… Continue reading

A seal rescued earlier this summer by the Alaska SeaLife Center awaits release on the North Kenai Beach in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
2nd harbor seal release draws large crowds

The seals were Pierogi, Pringle and Belle de Fontenay

Attendees search the waters of the Kenai River for sightings of Cook Inlet belugas during Belugas Count! at the Kenai Bluff Overlook in Kenai, Alaska on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Belugas Count! celebrated in Kenai

At a viewing station on Kenai’s bluff overlook, dozens gathered and peered out over the Kenai River during a morning session

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Finance Director Elizabeth Hayes, left, gives a presentation on the school district’s FY23 budget at Soldotna High School on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. Hayes during the KPBSD Board of Education’s Sept. 11, 2023, meetings, debuted first of an informational “Budget 101 Series.” (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
School district warns of looming $13 million deficit in first ‘Budget 101’ presentation

The first installment explored Alaska’s foundation formula

Clockwise from bottom left: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska Division Commander Col. Jeff Palazzini, Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel, Kenai City Manager Terry Eubank and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor participate in a signing ceremony for a project partnership agreement for the Kenai Bluff Stabilization Project at the Kenai Senior Center on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Bluff stabilization agreement signed

The agreement allows the project to go out to bid and construction to begin

Lyndsey Bertoldo, Penny Vadla and Jason Tauriainen participate in a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education candidate forum at the Soldotna Public Library in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
School board candidates tackle budget deficits, home-schooling, school maintenance

The discussion was the first of two forums featuring KPBSD school board candidates

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Brad Snowden and Julie Crites participate in a Seward City Council candidate forum at the Seward Community Library in Seward on Thursday.
Seward council candidates discuss issues at election forum

Participating in Thursday’s forum were Julie Crites and Brad Snowden

Most Read