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Sunny Day Real Estate's Dan Hoerner Gets Boost From The City To Save The Historic 'Big Dipper'

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Written by KHQ's Nichole Mischke with contributions from the owner of The Big Dipper and Sunny Day Real Estate band member, Dan Hoerner.

SPOKANE, Wash. - Jan Quintrall, Director of Business and Development Services for the City Of Spokane, understands that when you empower a small business, you're actually helping revitalize a neighborhood, generating new revenue for the city coffers and improving the quality of life for everyone.

This is why the City of Spokane has agreed to use funds from the utilities budget to invest in bringing a water main to assist with a much needed fire sprinkler system in Spokane's historic Big Dipper concert hall. This investment of $18,000 - $20,000 will ensure that The Big Dipper remains a thriving part of Spokane's community and history.

The Big Dipper is an historic Spokane building that was built in the 1900's. Those around Spokane in the 1980's most likely saw The Big Dipper rise to popularity as a tavern and live concert hall where some of the finest musicians in Spokane's underground music scene were born.

Dan Hoerner, a Spokane native, remembers seeing some of his favorite performers LIVE at The Big Dipper, back in the day, and made many memories himself up on that stage with his own 1990's rock band, Sunny Day Real Estate. His band is often credited as being one of the chief architects of "emo" music. Sunny Day Real Estate was hugely influential and their 2009 reunion tour sold out concert venues around the globe. They have performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and been written about in Rolling Stones.

Hoerner moved back to Spokane when his band broke up and seeing that the Big Dipper had been closed and vacant for a few years, he didn't want to see one of his favorite music spots with so much history, vanish from Spokane. He and his wife, Dawson,  purchased The Big Dipper and began renovations with plans to reopen it as a fully-functioning music and event venue, hosting shows and much more for fans of all ages. This is exactly what they have done and currently they are already hosting shows, poetry readings, live performances and more!

But the Hoerner's came across an unexpected road block that proved to be too big for them to maneuver on their own. Because the building is so old, it did not access to a large enough water main that would accommodate a fire sprinkler system up to code. Without the right fire sprinkler system, occupancy has to be limited to just 110 people. It would be very hard to bring in enough revenue to keep the business running successfully with such a small crowd and installing a fire sprinkler system will cost nearly $50,000.

Not giving up hope, Hoerner started a campaign on IndieGoGo asking the community to show their support by donating whatever they could afford and realizing that a few dollars from many people could go a long way. As of Sunday, April 6th, The Big Dipper IndieGoGo campaign has brought in just under $5,000 and with the end of the campaign, quickly approaching on April 23rd, Hoerner was beginning to worry.

That was until he met with Jan Quintrall with the City of Spokane. He shared his story and his vision for The Big Dipper and seeing the predicament The Big Dipper was in, the City has agreed to bring the water line for the fire sprinkler system, a very involved process that includes diverting traffic and digging up the street. The City sees the potential in bringing a historic building like this back to life. This is the second business that the City has recently invested in to help with fire sprinkler installation costs and it's a new way they are trying to assist with business development in downtown.

With the City's investment, Hoerner is much closer to covering his costs for the fire sprinkler system and is now only $10,000-$15,000 away from covering all costs. If you would like to contribute to funds, you can do so by clicking on this link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-the-big-dipper

For more information about "The Big Dipper" and to stay up to date on current shows and events, click here: https://www.facebook.com/BigDipperEvents
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