The show will go on, at least temporarily.

Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is now open and will offer a free opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday for two new exhibits: “Different Strokes,” featuring works by wildlife painter Ray Shaw and abstract and nature paintings by Joe Beavers, and works by the Palmer Lake Art Group.

The nonprofit arts center has been closed since Jan. 26 after the Palmer Lake Fire Department issued a cease and desist order due to code violations and unsafe conditions. The building also was missing a certificate of occupancy.

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A 60-day temporary certificate of occupancy issued Saturday by the town of Palmer Lake allowed the center to open. It’s good for 60 days while staff works toward earning a final certificate of occupancy from the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

“It (the temporary certificate) can be extended if we’re making good progress toward obtaining a permanent certificate, which we’re doing,” said Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts Executive Director Michael Maddox. “We’re taking those steps to rectify that.”

The temporary certificate comes with caveats, says Palmer Lake Mayor Glant Havenar. The two most significant conditions to be met are that Maddox and his wife may not live in the building because the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts is only zoned for commercial use and not residential use, and that Maddox does what is necessary to work through the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department to get a permanent certificate.

“And should either of those items not be working toward being met then that temporary certificate can go away.”

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Maddox and his wife don’t live in the center, though they occasionally stay the night due to security reasons, he says, such as when people tried to break into the building, and after concerts or other events that ended late in the evening.

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To obtain a permanent certificate of occupancy, the center is getting bids and estimates to create a remodeling plan, including the installation of fire walls and fire doors. The work is expected to cost thousands. Maddox doesn’t have a timeline for the project’s completion.

Once the work is completed, a new fire inspection will be required before a certificate can be issued by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. The temporary certificate can be extended if caveats are met.

“On day 61 it doesn’t mean it goes away,” Havenar said. “He (Maddox) has to show the fire chief he’s working on the goal. It could be extended if he’s performing to the temporary certificate of occupancy.”

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The missing certificate was discovered after the center requested a conditional use permit a few months ago to rent the venue to The Movement Church on Sunday mornings. The church has since departed. The Palmer Lake planning commission approved conditional use, but there were caveats, one of which was a new fire inspection of the grounds, which the center failed. The Palmer Lake Fire Department had been working for over a year to bring the building up to code.

“This item (certificate of occupancy) was never obtained 25 years ago when the TLCA first started,” Maddox wrote in a news release. “In 1999, the contractor, the original board of directors, and the architect failed to secure the crucial certificate of occupancy.”

Maddox hopes to reschedule concerts and other events, though he doesn’t know if the temporary certificate will be extended. Over the last few years, the center has brought in a national, regional and local acts, including John Schneider, Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters, Pam Tillis, Branford Marsalis and Judy Collins.

“That’s the tricky part, especially when you book national acts,” Maddox said. “It’s very costly to reschedule. I’m cautiously adding things to the calendar.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270


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