Culver Town Council Discusses Movie Theater Purchase

Culver’s former movie theater may soon be purchased by the town, but more research needs to be done before any decisions are made.

The current owner told the town council Tuesday that the prospect of renovating the theater has become more than the current group of volunteers can handle. While he’s confident the building can be fixed, he’s afraid there may be some unexpected costs to bring it up to current codes. Council members want to have architects or local contractors look at the building to offer some suggestions of what needs to be fixed.

Before the theater can be renovated, the town would have to decide exactly what to do with it. It could reopen as a movie theater, or it could be converted into a mixed-used facility. Additionally, the town may operate it itself, or a nonprofit group would handle that. Council members discussed incorporating the theater into Culver’s park department, similar to the Beach Lodge.

The theater renovation is one of the projects included in this year’s Stellar Communities application. Council President Ginny Bess Munroe pointed out that how the town plans to use the theater will have an effect on what kinds of grant funding will be available.

For now, the current owner is asking for about $130,000 for the former theater. So far, the town’s gotten two appraisals of the property. Town Manager Jonathan Leist said one was close to the asking price, while the other was significantly lower. A third appraisal would likely be done, before town officials consider moving ahead. The building could either be purchased by the town council itself, or the Culver Redevelopment Commission.