Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

August 21, 2013

KITCHELL: Future of theaters a cliffhanger

(Continued)

But there is a “Titanic” injustice in this scenario that allows a theater which has employed local residents, complemented downtown businesses and paid its taxes to be pitted against investors who have never paid a dime to our local coffers, don’t live in the community, won’t be hiring more than a couple of full-time employees and can’t guarantee when the theater will open — even if there is an economic package provided by the city that most other local businesses wouldn’t get. Some local business owners might refer to this as a remake of “Raging Bull.”

Councilman Bob Bishop, the “Avatar” for the Logansport Redevelopment Commission, has reportedly acknowledged that the deadline for the theater may not be met. Without an extension from the city for the funding, the new theater might be in for a “Rocky” beginning, even if its investors had hoped many visions of “The Color of Money.”

Some organizations, like the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, would claim we should be “Breaking Away” from the TIF district concept and its overuse. A recent institute report found that Indiana’s $580 million in TIF districts ranks Indiana seventh in TIF revenue. Meanwhile, other taxing units — schools, libraries and city governments — have to do without revenue they would have collected had TIF districts not been in place.

If landmark theaters such as the “State” are to have their own “Shawshank Redemption” for their contributions to the community, city government has to provide the same kind of support for it that it is providing the multiplex near the mall. This isn’t a matter of seeing something out your “Rear Window.” The State is on East Market Street in plain view of thousands of cars every day.

While the previous city administration took heat for investing tens of thousands in a downtown office building a block away that today is occupied by Nason Insurance, it could be argued that this administration paid too little attention to an existing business that needs it as much or more than a vacant downtown building did just a few years ago.

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