Kenosha Theatre Restoration Project
The Kenosha Theatre should be restored. That is the finding of a market study* funded by a community development block grant and completed in 1989. A market study and structural analysis were undertaken to determine the need and the integrity of the structure. Both studies determined what the Citizens' Group for the Kenosha Theatre already knew: that the Kenosha Theatre is structurally sound and there is a market for its purpose. The study concluded that the effort should be put on hold until the lakefront area had been developed. Since this study was completed, Kenosha and the surrounding communities have grown significantly and the lakefront has been transformed into a beautiful mix of residential and public spaces. The demographics have shifted even more in favor of supporting a facility such as the Kenosha Theatre. It is now time to get on with with the business of the theatre restoration.

There are numerous examples of restored theaters spurring the renaissance of downtown districts throughout the United States. Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio is credited for an amazing rediscovery of that city's downtown, while renewing a sense of pride and achievement in the community. The present condition of the Kenosha Theatre is not unlike many other restored movie palaces. One only need go to Las Vegas to realize that the craftsmanship that built the grand movie palaces of yesteryear still survives. It can be restored, it should be restored and it will be restored.

We need to cultivate a large group of positive thinkers who are willing to look past the obstacles. The Citizen's Group for the Kenosha Theater knows that the city of Kenosha is extremely fortunate to have not one, but FOUR 1920's performance theaters within a six-block area. The larger goal of a theater district will have to be achieved through cooperative efforts, one step at a time. We only wish all of the other arts groups great success.

There are many examples of restored theaters being the catalyst and "anchor" for renewed fiscal strength in downtowns across the country. The nay-sayer mentality is largely responsible for historic movie palaces becoming the number-one concern of the National Register of Historic Places.

Consider the recent construction of the Kenosha Museum. For less than the cost of this wonderful addition to the lakefront area, the city can reclaim an historic jewel while filling the need for a large live performance and entertainment center. The cost of restoring the Kenosha Theater is only a fraction of the cost of building just another generic performing arts center.

All it takes is an organization and funding. We are out to spread the word and grow our group. We need volunteers, we need funding and we need sponsors. If you are a local business person, chances are you will be hearing from us in the near future.

* The above link is for an executive summary of the market study. For a copy of the complete market study (8.9MB in size), click here.