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The west side of the 80-year-old Roosevelt Theatre was taken down on
Monday morning. The 80-year-old theater, which was first condemned
last summer, was scheduled for demolition due to deteriorating
conditions. About $150,000 in back taxes was also owed on the
property. The theater hosted live performances, vaudeville and movies
during its lifespan, but had been vacant for about 20 years.
The Roosevelt's last act
Oct. 7, 2008
Crews begin demolition of historic local theater
The curtain has officially fallen on the Roosevelt Theatre.
Crews from Racine-based Azarian Wrecking demolished the western side
of the 80-year-old theater, 2908 Roosevelt Road, on Monday morning
and the rest of the building will soon follow.
Mitch Engen, property division maintenance supervisor for the city,
said there was no clear time line on when the building would be
completely brought down. But the entire demolition and clean-up of
the site is expected to take a few months.
Some interior preparations using cutting saws were completed and
exterior barricades put in place last week to prepare for this week's
more noticeable demolition of the theater, which housed live theater,
vaudeville and movies during its history, but had been vacant for
about 20 years.
Asbestos was emoved from the building last month by Gilbert, Ill.-
based Champion Environmental Inc. a process which Engen said took
about three weeks.
The theater was first condemned in June of 2007, but building owners
Jon Gee and Kathryn Hannemann filed an injunction, amid discussions
of a potential buyer for the theater, and a stipulation was reached
The stipulation's first deadline for paying back taxes was missed and
no offer came forward for the building, setting it up for demolition
again. The building's owners owed about $150,000 in taxes on the
theater and the cost of weather-proofing the building was estimated
at around $300,000. Hannemann spoke of a potential benefactor who was
interested in donating $500,000 to the project over a number of City
Council meetings this summer, but the council voted in August to take
the building down when that offer did not materialize.
The site will be backfilled and covered with topsoil and grass seed.
Engen said where the land goes beyond that is still to be determined.
"The land will still be owned by the owners of record, but they are
behind in their taxes," Engen said. 'The county may take that land or
the city look at it as a potential redevelopment site. But it will
still be owned by the owners of record at the end of the year."
The contract for asbestos removal was about $37,000 and the
demolition price for the theater was estimated at $147,477.
Gee or Hannemann could not be reached for comment on Monday, but City
Attorney Patrick Sheehan said the city has not received notice of any
further action from the owners regarding the site.
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I can't say I'll miss it as I've never been there.
Buy it would have made a good "Live" stage for groups to do the acts
before bigtime ! Another wasted chance by our famous city papa's.
Oct. 7 - 05:54:58
What a shame! I wish the nearly $200,000 went to fixing up sidewalks
versus tearing down an old building!
Oct. 7 - 07:34:13
Breaks my heart.... Someone please send me a small peice
Oct. 7 - 08:11:19
It was a great theater !!! Went to many movies there as a teenager. I
think they used to do The Rocky Horror Show too. I'd have to ask my
kids or maybe someone in this forum knows. Kenosha had some great
movie houses. The Lake Theater and of course The Orpheum. I'd like to
know if the citizens of Kenosha can help themselves to some bricks
for old times sake.
Oct. 7 - 08:51:33