PAAC holds virtual town hall meeting to update community and let them ask questions about moving forward to save Vista Theater

North Central UP

NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council held a virtual town hall to Wednesday night to discuss plans as they continue to move forward after the Historic Vista Theater‘s roof collapsed on August 26.

The first step in moving forward is to get the building prepped for winter. That alone is a $100,000 project and they are about halfway there.

“The contractors are talking needing four to five weeks,” said Thomas Gerdom, who is making the business plan for the theater. “If we’re there right now and they start this week and they take four to five weeks, we’re basically at Thanksgiving. My experience up there is it’s pretty ugly weather by Thanksgiving.”

The roof collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic has put some obstacles in PAAC’s path as they were finishing up a plan to make the theater even more of a space for the community to be involved with.

“In 1973 when the Peninsula Arts Appreciation council was first put together, it was put together with the intent of the community coming together and learning visual arts, performing arts, being able to show off some of the stuff that they’ve created and share it with the community,” said PAAC President Rusty Bowers. “Kids to come in and learn how to do things and that’s kind of our plan with this new restoration of the building. We want to protect the history, we want to it to look historical, but be technologically up to date so we can do things. It’s kind of like re-imagining what they first did. We want to have classrooms, we want to have acting lessons, signing lessons, dancing lessons, painting lessons. That front room could not only be a meeting space, a lobby but it be kind of an art gallery. A building for the community to come and participate.”

There have been different fundraisers going on to save the Vista. One of them being a huge can collection at different venues in Marquette County. They need volunteers to help them sort cans.
They will be sorting them next Monday through Friday at 6:00 p.m. at the annex behind the Vista on Jackson street.

PAAC is also looking for any other ideas on how to raise more funds. With their group consisting of about 10 volunteers, they say they need all hands on deck to help them save the building.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the cause as well. PAAC’s Facebook page is also continually updating the community on what is going on with the situation. In the meeting, Bowers said volunteer sign-up sheets will be posted there for people to help out with the can sorting.

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