Update provided on Historic Vista Theater

In 11 days the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council GoFundMe has raised nearly $20,000 for the needed repairs.
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 11:42 AM EDT
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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (Press Release/WLUC) - The Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council (PAAC) membership received an update Monday on the condition and plans for the Historic Vista Theater in Negaunee.

On Sept. 14, the PAAC membership voted to “allow the board to go forward with any and all efforts up to and including negotiating a possible sale of the building to a third party.”

It is important to note that PAAC has not received a formal offer to purchase the Vista, and if an offer is received and approved by the board, the membership would still have the right of refusal, PAAC Advisory Board interim president Rusty Bowers said.

“Right now we are focused on raising money to remove the debris, shore up the walls, and cap the stage house and lobby portions of the building to protect them from the elements,” Bowers said. “Public safety is our primary concern, and we will continue our fundraising efforts to get that done.”

He said the PAAC is working with a contractor who is investigating the best way to remove the debris from the building then begin the process of shoring up the wall. A local roofing contractor has also informed the organization that he will adjust his labor cost and some of the materials can be purchased at a reduced cost.

In 11 days the PAAC GoFundMe has raised nearly $20,000 for the needed repairs, which are expected to cost up to $100,000. The roof, which is expected to cost up to $200,000 to complete, is expected to be started in the spring of 2021.

“We are very grateful for the support of the community,” Bowers said. “We have had hundreds of people donate, and more have reached out to offer assistance with our fundraising efforts.”

During Monday’s meeting, PAAC membership was also informed that Nate Heffron, Negaunee’s City Manager had submitted his resignation from the advisory board. Bowers has agreed to fill Heffron’s position for the remainder of his term.

In a letter to the board, Heffron noted his obligations to the city of Negaunee created a conflict of interest following the Aug. 26 roof collapse.

Bowers said members of the PAAC Advisory Board are grateful for Heffron’s service to date and respect the difficult decision to step down from his position as president.

“Nate Heffron brought a lot of energy to the board,” Bowers said. “He was a great addition to the organization. And we look forward to continuing to work with him in his capacity as city manager as we work toward the future of the Vista Theater and the organization itself. He has always been an advocate for our organization.”

Bowers said the backing of the Marquette County community will continue to be critical as PAAC looks to raise funds.

“We are asking anyone who can donate to our GoFundMe to do so,” Bowers said. “And if you can’t donate, please share our cause as much as you can. We will also be launching other ways to donate including a large can drive. We are coming at this from all angles and reaching out in a variety of ways. Nothing is too big and nothing is too small, everything helps.”

For more information on proposed building repairs or to donate to PAAC’s GoFundMe, visit the group’s Facebook page or website.

TV6 & FOX UP will continue to provide updates on the Historic Vista Theater as they happen.

Press Release, 2020. Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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