DuQuoin, IL leaders cautious after theater's closure - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

DuQuoin, IL leaders cautious after theater's closure

An antique-style movie theater in DuQuoin, Illinois remains shuttered as city officials decide what to do next.

Duquoin Mayor Guy Alongi said there are parts of the theater that aren’t up to modern code, and some serious structural issues that will need to be addressed if the theater is rehabilitated.

“You can see that some of the bricks have fallen off, and we’ve got a weak spot I know back on this west end,” Alongi explained on a walk around the 101 year-old structure. “It needs some tender loving care right now, and that’s what we’ve got to try to figure out.”

In 2014, the city stepped in with a $20,000 loan to help the owners purchase new equipment, but the theater remained in the red until it closed down this week.

DuQuoin Mayor Guy Alongi said if nobody buys the building, he and other city leaders have a big decision to make.

“There’s gonna be a large expenditure to try to get it back online, and we’re trying to just weigh our options and see what we can do to help in the process and if it is our place to do so.”

Bob Bytner and his family own a fudge shop just next door to the theater.

“There’s less for people to come downtown to see,” Bytner said. “I hate to see any business close. Next door or anywhere on main street.”

“I mean, I’ve been going there since I was a little kid, It’s kind of like a part of DuQuoin honestly,” said DuQuoin native Kayle Armstrong as she visited the Bytners’ fudge shop on a visit home from college. “I’m really sad that [the Grand] is closing.”

“We have got to just put our arms around this thing and see what it is to us, make sure the building’s structurally sound, and go from there,” Mayor Alongi said.

City Officials say they may consider using tax money to help potential buyers fix up the theater, and are seeking community input over the next few months.

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