Source Alleges Rockford’s Mayor Wants To Demolish Midway Theater
The iconic theater has seen better days, it's true. It there a chance it could relive those glory days? A local news outlet says the city just wants it gone. This is, in fact, untrue.
Rockford Register Star published a story about Mayor McNamara wanting to demolish Midway Theater, which has become what some call "an eyesore" over the last decade. It's certainly seen better days and currently has an owner that has attempted improvements. But, according to rrstar.com, it's not enough in the City's eyes. The newspaper indicates the City of Rockford and its mayor want to remove it completely, as part of reducing blight. Here's the quote from the mayor,
People pay a lot of property taxes and they don’t deserve to live near buildings that are blighted,” McNamara said. “By being aggressive, we can increase property values, decrease the public safety cost associated with these structures and, equally as important, improve the quality of life of people who live there.
City officials have taken steps to see that owners of blighted properties either clean up and restore the property or get rid of it. It seems Midway Theater's owner could be next in an even deeper battle with the city. He (Peter Crane) says the city wants Midway Theater improved "right away, immediately." And, he's already been fined for code violations back in July.
I asked Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara if the city wants to simply get rid of it or would demolition be an absolute last resort. He indicated the latter.
The city does not want to see it demolished. We want the owner to stop letting it decay and bring a blight. We want it to be a productive property. Demo would be a shame and total last resort.
Though the owner could be the next to be involved in a lawsuit over getting the ball rolling for needed restoration, city officials do not want to the see historic theater torn down. Now, is the Midway Theater something that could be re-opened in downtown Rockford? I don't know, but I sure hope so.