Columbia Theater Restoration Project Asks City And County For Funds

Feb 21, 2019

Advocates for downtown Paducah’s historic Columbia Theater are asking city and county officials for funding to help with the restoration of the building. 

Darlene Mazzone and Hal Sullivan with the Paducah Arthouse Alliance gave a presentation to the Paducah City Commission and McCracken County Fiscal Court in a jointly held meeting this week.

Sullivan said phase one of the restoration project will stabilize the building. Mazzone said the stabilization process and the restoration of the facade are important as the project moves forward. “This will literally save the building. So that it’s physical integrity will be maintained and preserved, and so we can be assured that we can move in restoring the interior for future development,” she said. 

Mazzone said once restored, the Columbia Theater could attract new businesses to downtown as the Alliance plans to use it in a variety of ways, ranging from a venue for live performances to holding educational workshops. She also said the building’s unique architecture could attract enthusiasts.

Mazzone and Sullivan asked the city and county to allocate a portion of the transient room tax to fund a $1.5 million bond for the project. 

No action was taken on the measure. But officials asked to see a debt schedule and an updated account statement of the transient room fund.

Sullivan said the funding process is similar to how the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center was built. 

Mazzone said the entire restoration project will cost an estimated $5.8 million. 

The Columbia Theater opened in 1927 and closed in 1985.

This story has been updated.