A group of local individuals is asking the City of Leitchfield and the city’s tourism commission to join forces in an effort to save the Alice Theatre.
Even though the doors to the theatre, restaurant and hotel on Public Square in Leitchfield were closed in 1988 it remains a landmark in Grayson County. Over the years the building has continued to be a local attraction with many stories told of the memories made there.
When a for sale sign went up on the marquee of the building last summer local businessman and city council member Steven Elder began a campaign to see the Alice Theatre and Alexander Hotel restored to its original state.
After attempts to get the city council or the city tourism to take any formal action in renovating the property failed, a group of local citizen got together and decided to purchase the buildings and lease the theatre portion to the city tourism.
Spokesman for the group, Dwight Embry, approached both the Leitchfield City Council and the City Tourism on Tuesday, January 18, at their regular meeting with the idea of a public/private partnership to renovate the building.
“Our idea is to purchase both the restaurant and the theatre and lease the theatre part to the city if they will pay the costs to renovate it,” said Embry. “We will pay the cost to renovate the restaurant and run it.”
Embry added, our estimates make the cost of renovating the theatre portion around $300,000.
“In return for you paying the renovation costs we will allow tourism to use the theatre at no cost for five years,” said Embry.
When asked what would happen after the five year lease was up Embry said the group would then lease the property to the city at “below market value.”
The plan is for the city tourism to hire or appoint a committee to attract performers and schedule events that will bring tourist to the city.
While the tourism commission asked for a business plan and took no formal action on the idea, the city council voted unanimously to, “A resolution of support to the group of citizens that is trying to bring back the Alice theatre and send a strong message to the Leitchfield Tourism Commission to support the project as well.”
In other business the City Council:
• Agreed to combine the Freedomfest and the FiddleFest to make it one weekend on the square instead of two separate events at separate locations on separate weekends. Details were not announced but the event(s) will take place on the public square the third weekend of July.
• Appointed Leon Shaw to the Tax Appeals Board
• Announced a Meeting with representatives February 8 at 9 a.m. at city hall
• Agreed to look into changing cell service from AT&T in order to get better service. The city is paying month to month and has no contract with AT&T
After opening bids for the purchase two police cruisers, a ¾ ton pick up truck and a one-ton truck the council agreed to make sure the bids included all the equipment the city needed before taking any action.