Saturday, November 17, 2007

Historic Highland Park Theater Must Stay

As a community, we must do what ever it takes to keep the Highland Park Theater standing and operating as an entertainment facility. Originally named the Alcyon Theatre in 1924, the Highland Park Theater is one of noted local architect William D. Mann’s earliest commercial building designs. This facility is an entertainment anchor of our downtown and has possibilities of creating a larger attraction that will bring in customers to our Central Business District. Why is that important? Because the more outside sales tax we produce in our CBD, the less burden we have on our Real Estate Taxes to pay for essential services of our community.
Also, the cultural and historical implications of the loss of the theater would be enormous in my opinion.

I have been pushing the idea for several years to the City Council to save the Highland Park Theater. I had asked Ravinia Festival to step up to the plate and create a downtown presence and program at the Highland Park Theater. Up to now Ravinia Festival has declined. I am however thrilled to share that we now have the consensus from the City Council to move forward in the process of studying ideas and strategies for our cultural arts retention and expansion in our downtown at the Highland Park Theater.

At the owner Fred Allen's request, I met with him over a year ago to implement a strategy to keep the theater operating and open as an entertainment facility. Fred also worked with Apple Tree Theater to see if they could reuse the facility as their home. I applaud Fred for his outreach to the City and not for profit organizations to save this historic theater.

I know myself and the entire Highland Park City Council is encouraged by the possibilities of this Theater and have recently ordered a study of the feasibility of renovation. Please support this effort with your voice, pen, and any other means to make this a reality.

Call me 847-456-6933