The Ottumwa Courier

November 21, 2012

Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation has purchased Capri Theatre

JEFF HUTTON
Courier editor

OTTUMWA — Since its closing seven years ago, the former Capri Theatre on Main Street in downtown Ottumwa has seen better days.

But members of the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation board believe the building could again be a showplace and standout facility in the overall redevelopment of downtown.

Brad Little, executive director of the foundation, told the Courier that the organization has purchased the building and cleanup and repair work has already begun on the facility.

“We felt it was an important part of Ottumwa,” he said, adding there aren’t too many residents who don’t have some sort of connection to the old movie theater.

The building is currently beset with interior damage, a leaky roof and electrical issues.

“We wanted to do some immediate work ... get control of the building,” Little said, adding work has been ongoing the past couple of weeks.

But beyond the initial cleanup and necessary repair work, the building’s future is not clear. Little said the foundation and community stakeholders will be meeting in the weeks and months to come to determine what’s best for the facility.

For many, the obvious choice is to renovate and rehabilitate the building into a performing arts theater. In fact, the foundation is looking for ideas in how to obtain a marquee for the building.

And Little said the foundation is working with the same architectual and design firm that worked on the renovation of the Capitol Theater in Burlington — a seven-year, $3 million effort.

“Before we ever make any decision, we formed an advisory board,” Little said, adding they did not want the building to compete with the existing Bridge View Center.

“We want something entirely different,” he said

What that will be specifically, however, has not been finalized.

Little said the foundation is looking at funding grants, public-private partnerships and other opportunities to determine the right path for the building.

“There’s a lot at stake,” he said.