Highland Town Theatre scores bicentennial endorsement

The proposed renovation of the Town Theatre in Highland was endorsed by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission in 2016, but it couldn't save the historic theater.

HIGHLAND – The project to renovate the historic Town Theatre has received an endorsement from the 2016 Indiana Bicentennial Commission.

The announcement was made Tuesday by the Town Theatre board.

“The Highland Redevelopment Commission applied for this status in late fall of 2015 and is pleased that the bicentennial commission considers the Town Theatre worthy of the honor,” Redevelopment Director Cecile Petro said Wednesday.

Among other things, the recognition allows the town to use the bicentennial commission’s logo on material related to the project.

“I know this project will make an impact and be a great contribution to Indiana’s legacy,” Perry Hammock, executive director of the commission, wrote in a letter to Petro.

The Redevelopment Commission believes the award will help efforts to secure grant money and increase tourism in Highland after the renovation is complete, Petro said.

After the 70 year-old building’s walls are shored up, Morris Architects Planners Inc, of Chicago, will be working on the schematic design phase, along with a project timeframe.

The board also released the results of a survey to see what residents want in the cultural arts district planned for the area west of the theater.

Those wanting coffee shops comprised 61 percent, 58 percent wanted restaurants and 41 percent asked for brewery and wine bars.

Artistic opportunities also scored high at 36 percent.

Also in the survey, 73 percent wanted music to be part of the renovated theater, 56 percent want classic movies and 53 percent favor plays and dramatic presentations.

A wish for independent films was next at 31 percent, themed movie festivals and documentaries at 27 percent, while children’s entertainment was 24 percent.

Art and photo classes were next with 20 percent and tying at 15 percent were open microphone nights and fine arts classes for children.

Petro said residents want to interact within the town to feel connected.

“The theater can provide that for the community,” she said. “It will retain its famous intermission of social time with cake and coffee.”

The board also is looking for new members.

“The board would like to appoint people who have experience in those fields,” Petro said.

Those interested can call Petro at (219) 972-7598.

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Metro Editor