Columbia Theatre Control to Pass from City to Nonprofit

Mar 26, 2014

Paducah city officials are passing control of the historic downtown Columbia Theatre to a nonprofit group for renovation.

The Paducah City Commission introduced an ordinance at its Tuesday night meeting to transfer the theater to Columbia Club Inc., which had been the sole bidder with a ceremonial offer of $1. City Manager Jeff Pederson said that ordinance will be voted on and almost certainly pass at the commission's April 8 meeting.

Columbia Club vice chair Landee Bryant-Greene said the deal hinges on the  Columbia Club receiving a $50,000 Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection Brownfield grant for asbestos and lead paint clean-up.

“The grant is due, I believe it’s at the end of this month," Bryant-Greene said. "And then, the turnaround for this grant, because it’s a state grant and not federal, is really quick. It would be as early as this summer if we were awarded the money.”

If approved, the city of Paducah is required to provide $10,000 to match the grant. If  the state doesn't approve the grant, control of the Columbia will pass back to the city.

Bryant-Greene said the Columbia Club task force has an opening date of 2017 in mind for the Columbia, which will house three movie screens and host special events and concerts. If the Columbia does reopen for business in 2017, it would be the 90th anniversary of its construction in 1927.