Almost a full year after becoming a full-fledged non-profit, the West iNd Connection is seeking to give the community a chance to become involved in bringing a historical piece of art back to life.
Tammy Parsons, CEO of the West iNd Connection and longtime owner of B-Vogue Salon & Art Gallery in Englewood, said the organization is collecting funds to help with the transition of the Englewood Theater to new ownership, opening it and making it readily operational for the community.
Parsons said the details regarding the when and how of the theater’s transition are not set in stone, and there is still much discussion to be had, but she and the other members of The West iNd Connection want the community to have the chance to be involved when and if it happens.
“We would like to take that voice and be present in this acquisition,” she said.
The group’s goal is $50,000, according to Parsons, and it’s currently sitting at $15,000. The funds raised will go toward the eventual purchase price of the theater. This goal will not cover the final price, according to Parsons, but will allow the community to have a presence in the process.
“We would like to see the theater open,” said Parsons. “Point blank, let’s open it.”
Independence Mayor Eileen Weir said the city is looking at ways to play a role in helping the theater move to a public-owned state, but will not be seeking to own the theater itself.
“The city is not buying it,” Weir confirmed.
Weir said the city has been looking at similar instances in other cities, where the public has come into ownership of a building to preserve it and retain its use. She gave the example of a historical post office in Washington, Missouri, that had fallen into disuse after the Postal Service moved. The residents of the town refused to let the building fall into memory.
Weir said residents came together to acquire and renovate the building, and it remains in use.
Both Weir and Parsons agreed the revitalization of the Englewood Theater would go a long way in the further revitalization of the immediate surrounding area, where many homes have fallen into disrepair.
“It’s about not losing anymore of our neighborhoods,” said Parsons.
Parsons said the theater is still a regular item of discussion among residents, and the topic of when, and if, it will reopen is an almost daily question.
Parsons and Weir confirmed that no commitments have been made on any end, but said the discussion is still very much alive. Residents can donate to the West iNd Connection’s Englewood Theater project through its website.