Movie House Giveaway in Paducah

posted by btkrefft on April 28, 2004 at 2:49 pm

PADUCAH, KY — In an effort to lure artists to a formerly run-down area that’s currently in the midst of a revival as an artists colony, the neighboring Arcade and Columbia Theatres, closed for more than 20 years, are being given away by City of Paducah.

The city, according to this report in the Chicago Tribune, is hoping to donate either one or both of the theaters to the right party with the right plan. Carol Gault, executive director of the Main Street Paducah program says “the theaters would be perfect for a non-for-profit group that wanted to put on plays, or, for that matter, start showing films again. We’re willing to listen to any ideas.”

The 1911 Arcade seats about 600 and the neighboring 1927 Columbia seats about 1200. The theaters were deeded to the city last year by the original owners.

The theater giveaway is part of a new Main Street initiative, backed by the National Trust of Historic Preservation, called the Hannan Architectural Restoration Program. The program provides free architectural fees, electrical wiring, and discounts on materials like wood and paint. Also, generous fixed-rate loans would become available from an enrichment pool from local banks.

A few weeks ago, Paducah placed one of its first ads for the theaters in the LA Times and further ads are planned for other publications. Gault says, “We want to get these theaters up and running. We don’t want to lose them.”

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