Highland Park closes movie theater, Port Clinton parking garage
Mayor Nancy Rotering took the Highland Park News on a tour of the Highland Park Theater last fall when the city launched its redevelopment process. Fast forward to Saturday, when the City Council voted to temporarily close the venue, citing fire-safety is
Updated: May 8, 2012 9:53AM
The city of Highland Park ordered the immediate closing of the Port Clinton parking garage and Highland Park Movie Theater over the weekend after finding several fire-safety violations.
Independent inspectors were called in on Thursday (May 3) to analyze both city-owned facilities after safety concerns were brought to the City Council’s attention, according to a statement from Mayor Nancy Rotering.
The inspections are ongoing, but preliminary findings prompted Fire Chief Patrick Tanner to recommend the unprecedented closings.
The council also scheduled an emergency special meeting at 9 a.m. Monday to further discuss the issue. Attempts to reach Mayor Rotering and officials in the city manager’s office were unsuccessful after the meeting.
“Public safety is paramount and the conditions highlighted by the inspectors were unacceptable,” stated Rotering in the statement. “We are taking necessary steps to ensure public safety.”
The Central Avenue garage is expected to be reopened in the near-term after the safety issues are addressed.
“The theater situation is more complex; the cost of remedy may be prohibitive and needs additional analysis before a final determination can be made,” Rotering wrote in her weekend statement.
It’s unknown how the safety issues will impact the city’s ongoing effort to sell or team with an investor to redevelop to the historic theater site, 445 Central Ave. The city purchased the Highland Park Theater in 2009 for $2.1 million. It was opened in 1927 as The Alcyon and since has been split into four theaters screening first- and second-run movies.
The “Request For Proposals” deadline was set for last fall, but the council has not discussed any proposals in open meetings.
“These decisions were painstaking and deliberate,” Rotering said. “Immediate action was necessary to stabilize two potentially dangerous situations. We are already in the process of assessing the situation to find a solution.”
Parking alternatives, including the other garages in the downtown, were made available to Port Clinton business employees. The other lots remain open to the public.
The two retail shops connected to the theater — Style Shack and Ooh La La Millinery — remain open as well.