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updated: 6/3/2014 5:04 PM

Antioch officials approve ticket tax to help pay for theater renovations

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  • The Antioch Theatre in downtown is closed, but a real estate developer said he plans to renovate the 95-year-old facility.

      The Antioch Theatre in downtown is closed, but a real estate developer said he plans to renovate the 95-year-old facility.
    Megan Swindell | Staff Photographer

By Megan Swindell

The proposed renovation of the shuttered Antioch Theatre now includes a movie ticket tax that would help fund work at the 95-year-old facility.

The tax that was originally proposed at 50 cents per ticket, but later increased to 75 cents, was approved by the village board Monday.

It would be on tickets sold only for motion pictures, and will help repay a $200,000 village loan for Tim Downey, a real estate investor who plans to renovate the theater. Village Administrator Jim Keim said state law requires the loan to be paid back within 10 years.

"Raising it to 75 cents means more security for both of us," Downey said of himself and the village.

The board also discussed incorporating exemptions in the ordinance in case the village ever charges a fee for the "movies in the park" it hosts.

The theater at 378 Lake St. currently is closed because the previous owner lost insurance for the building.

Downey said renovations would begin after he takes ownership of the building. A real estate closing is planned for mid-June, he said.

He said he is contributing $300,000 to help cover the cost of purchasing the theater and the renovations.

Sponsors and the village loan are also part of the project funding, Downey said, and he has begun a Kick Starter program for the community to get involved with online donations.

The proposed renovations would include a new exterior and a lobby that resemble what the theater may have looked like in the 1920s. he said.

Downey said he also plans to add another screen in the vacant retail space to the east of the theater. It will seat 29 people.

"It really is a community effort," he said Monday. "When this thing works, it'll be a great asset to the community."

The theater was built in 1919 and converted from a live theater to a movie house in 1924.

If everything falls into place, Downey said, he plans to have the renovations done and the theater open in mid November, in time for holiday season shows.

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