Negaunee City Council entering agreement to purchase, save Vista Theater

Negaunee City Council entering agreement to purchase, save Vista Theater
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 8:38 AM EDT
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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Negaunee City Council voted Tuesday night to enter into an agreement with the Marquette County Landbank Authority where the ownership of the theater will be transferred to the city pending the securing of grant funds.

The 98-year-old Vista Theater in Negaunee suffered a roof collapse after a drain failure on the roof and heavy rains back in late summer 2020.

“The agreement is brought to you by the Landbank Authority and a grant available by the State of Michigan,” said Negaunee City Manager Nate Heffron. “If the grant application is successful, then the project will be ran through the Marquette County Landbank Authority and that will allow them to place a roof on the Vista Theater and to clean out environmental factors within the building that’s causing deterioration currently.”

Several supporters of the Vista Theater expressed their approval for the plan which is estimated to cost about $470,000.

Supporters, like Lisa Bowers from the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council (PAAC) board, say it’s not just about the money, but saving the building.

“We’ve been trying to partner with someone who has access to these grant funds for a while so, to be able to take the more than $100,000 that we’ve raised to put into stabilizing the building up to this point, to take that and put that to good use, that would be amazing if we could just save the building,” Bowers said.

In just two years the building will celebrate its 100-year anniversary. The grant application is due at the end of this month so the timeline to repair the roof could be soon.

“At this time, these specific funds are not as readily useable by some folks where they might not have a project ready to go, we’re kind of in a unique circumstance where have done a lot of research, we’re ready to move on this and we have good partners ready to roll on this,” Heffron said.

Final plans for the Vista, if the roof is repaired, are not yet known.