Charlie Blum has announced the the Star Plaza Theatre will remian open.

Charlie Blum has announced the the Star Plaza Theatre will remain open.

John J. Watkins, The Times

Congratulations, Northwest Indiana. You've shown what can happen when enough individuals voice public concern, even regarding a private-sector issue.

The outpouring of support by fans of Merrillville's Star Plaza Theatre have saved the iconic Region landmark from the wrecking ball.

Kudos to the White family and their company, White Lodging, which owns the 3,400-seat theater, for taking those concerns to heart.

White Lodging announced earlier this year it would be demolishing the Radisson hotel and connected theater to make way for a smaller hotel, with meeting space, in the near future.

That decision came after a revised business model was created.

Fans of the theater — flush with nostalgia for the many shows, school graduations and other events they've attended there over the years — began to speak out en masse.

The Times even printed an entire page of letters in which readers recounted their special memories of the building.

Star Plaza Theatre President, CEO and talent buyer Charlie Blum said those voices were heard, loud and clear.

"The outpouring from the community was beyond what we expected," Blum said. "We were so close to it because we've operated the theater for years. But what we heard from the community, the comments we heard about it being a major economic driver for the area, made us take another look."

Now the company intends to build its new hotel in symbiosis with the theater. Some 200 jobs at the theater are safe.

And shows will play on — perennial favorites including holiday shows from big-name acts and comedy productions.

Now it's time for all parties to consider how the Star Plaza plays into our future and remains a relevant part of our landscape.

Region residents who spoke out can be proud they were part of the voice that spared an icon.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editorial Page Editor Marc Chase, Editor Bob Heisse, Politics/History Editor Doug Ross and Managing Editor Erin Orr.