Work continues at Arcada Theatre

  • Work is continuing this week to address concerns raised about the conditions of the Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles.

    Work is continuing this week to address concerns raised about the conditions of the Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles. Courtesy of St. Charles Noon Rotary Club

 
 
Updated 3/25/2019 7:53 PM

Work continues to address concerns raised about the conditions of the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, theater operator Ron Onesti said Monday.

St. Charles fire and building officials were back at the theater Monday at 105 E. Main St.

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Onesti characterized their visit as less of an inspection than a "fine-tooth combing of the entire building," going over points raised by a city-ordered inspection.

The city had shut the theater Thursday because of concerns over an exposed electrical panel and the ability for patrons to exit in an emergency. The theater was given a temporary occupancy permit that allowed it to reopen the next day after it removed some portable seating, fixed a cover on an electrical panel in the basement, and agreed to instruct audiences before shows about how to find emergency exits.

Onesti said Monday's review involved architects, an alarm company and plumbers he has hired. Repairs have been made so that a fire alarm system on the third floor of the building connects to the alarm on the first floor, and he has added more warning strobe lights.

Some plumbing work has been done, holes in walls in the basement have been patched, and electrical boxes have been repaired or upgraded, Onesti said.

He said he expects to open the Club Arcada lounge Wednesday as usual and to have shows in the theater this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We're open and operational," Onesti said.

Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet said "significant progress" has been made. "Mr. Onesti has taken the situation very seriously and has committed significant resources to the effort," Schelstreet said.

The portable seats are in the center section of the theater. Unlike permanent seats, they aren't bolted to the floor. Onesti said the seats typically are removed for shows where there is dancing or where a standing crowd is desired.

The city had received safety complaints dating to November, about overcrowding, not being able to hear the fire alarms during shows, and the accessibility of exits. Onesti said the overcrowding complaint came when a comedian went about 45 minutes long on his set, and the theater was still full when people coming for the second show were let into the lobby.

Onesti does not own the theater or the building. A Seattle man owns them. The building, which also houses shops and offices, was built in 1926.

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