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Preservationists make another push for action on decaying Uptown Theatre

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A recently created petition urging leaders to restore the movie palace has already earned 1,500 signatures

Flickr Creative Commons/Thomas Hawk
Friends of the Uptown

Preservationists and Uptown residents have recently linked up to make another push for action on the long vacant Uptown Theatre on North Broadway Avenue. Two weeks ago, the group Friends of the Uptown and Preservation Chicago created a petition urging Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Department of Planning and Development Commissioner David Reifman, and theatre owner Jerry Mickleson to commit to a restoration and reopening of the building for a new generation of Uptown residents.

Since launching the petition two weeks ago, the effort has already received nearly 1,500 signatures. The petition description is simple and brief, but it makes it clear that the community is ready for action on the neighborhood landmark.

The potential of the Uptown Theatre means so much to the people who have fond memories of it and to those who are hoping that its restoration and reuse will bring jobs and make a positive economic impact on the neighborhood and region.

I urge you to support and ensure the restoration and reuse of the historic Uptown Theatre for entertainment and other special events. This Chicago Landmark will create jobs for the community and help make the Uptown Square Entertainment District a vital destination.

Adaptive reuse and renovation of the Uptown Theatre isn’t exactly a far-fetched idea. The Congress Theater in Logan Square is currently undergoing a major renovation that will not only ensure the building’s future, but it’ll also return the historic movie palace as a contributing asset to the community once again. Meanwhile in Uptown, residents have watched the equally significant Uptown Theatre continue to decay over the years. A state appropriation worth $10 million was earmarked for the theatre back in May of 2014, but the state’s historic budget battle has left Uptown stakeholders empty-handed.