The front of the Colony Theatre in Hillsboro was torn down Monday, on the heels of a city council committee meeting last week where committee members were told that the front portion of the theater was too unstable to preserve following demolition of the rear of the building.
Council originally hoped the facade and front portion of the theater could be preserved. But after the large rear portion was taken down, officials discovered that the support beams for the front of the building were not as stable as they first believed.
For safety reasons, city officials determined the need to take down the remainder of the building prior to the opening of the Festival of the Bells, according to mayor Drew Hastings.
At a city council Property, Maintenance and Restoration Committee meeting last week, the committee voted 3-0 to recommend the demolition, with safety and service director Mel McKenzie saying, “It’s pretty dangerous right now.” He said he had received a bid of $12,000 to take down the rest of the theater, calling that figure “pretty reasonable.”
Committee members were considering options to recommend to fill the empty space, including rebuilding a facade similar to the old one, or creating a small “pocket park.”
The theater was originally built and equipped in 1938 for $75,000. It opened as part of the Chakeres chain of theaters. Over the years, after closing as a first-run movie house, it went from public to non-profit ownership, finally ending up back in the hands of the city.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at [email protected]