The first thing city officials ought to do, though, is get in touch with Alger and see what he needs to stay in business.
A $3.5 million investment in a new theater is nothing to sneeze at. Still, there’s an old rule about economic development: It’s great to go out and land new businesses, but the first thing communities need to do is take care of the businesses they already have.
New jobs are great, but they lose their luster pretty quickly if they start to drive the old jobs away.
Alger offers a pretty simple math lesson when he talks about trading three full-time jobs for four. The city ought to pay attention.
Logansport for years has been trying to rebuild its downtown. It has made some progress in that effort with the work to create an arts and design district, and last week, news broke that the city had been talking to developers about building senior housing on what is now the farmers market lot at Fourth and Market streets.
Adding housing downtown would be a significant step forward in revitalizing the area and drawing businesses that will cater to those residents.
The revitalization effort, though, isn’t only about taking steps forward. It’s also about avoiding steps backward.
Many communities would look at Logansport’s historic downtown theater with a hint of jealousy. Some of them once had great old theaters like that and let them slip away.
Logansport needs to avoid making the same mistake.
The city still has its theater, and that theater has an owner who has already begun work toward reclaiming the building’s former glory. It would be a shame to see that work come to an end.
• Kelly Hawes is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.