A local developer who has grand plans for Downtown Murrieta has created a new space for the city arts council, which will be using the open-air venue to stage plays, art exhibits, comedy shows and installations by sculptors.
The space, which has been dubbed The Backyard, is located at the southwestern corner of Juniper Street and Washington Avenue. It features an Old West-type bar, unique signage and a big BBQ.
Casey Jurado of Villa Mesa Development said the first event there, a show featuring artwork by local seniors, was held around three weeks ago. And there was a good crowd.
“The city has been real supportive,” he said.
Residents curious about future shows should check the Facebook page for the Murrieta Arts Council, which, he said, will be posting updates later this year as The Backyard’s events calendar takes shape.
Jurado is the same developer behind the Village Patio, an open-air saloon/food cart restaurant slated for the parcel just west of The Backyard spot. The city in early 2016 approved plans for the Patio, which will be located in the front yard of the historic Doolittle house, but Jurado said Monday that construction is about a year away.
Jurado also is working on plans for the renovation of the Ray’s Cafe building, which is located about a block north of the Backyard and Patio parcels.
“We’re going to get this town going,” he said.
The plan right now is to turn the cafe into a diner celebrating the car culture of the 50s, 60s and 70s. That sort of business seems like it would be a great fit in Downtown Murrieta, which hosts multiple classic car shows a year, but an historic home on the property may complicate matters.
The house is one of the first structures erected in the city but the previous owners, who were recently asked to vacate the premises, allowed it to fall into disrepair.
There are some residents who want to save the home and turn it into a bed and breakfast or maybe an antique shop but it’s unclear at this point if the actual bones of the structure are strong enough to support that sort of renovation.