Arson Fire At Historic Theater

Nov 20, 2012

Parma fire officials say arson is the cause of a weekend fire at the historic Parma Theater.

But area residents say they will continue working to preserve the structure. Jim Letizia reports.

No arrests have been made and a motive has not been released. The 76-year-old Parma Theater closed its doors for good on September 9th. Theater manager Bob Hellriegel cited the rising costs of showing first-run films at a discount. Despite the arson, Parma residents are trying to preserve the theater. City Council member Debbie Lime says it would cost nearly 800-thousand dollars to buy the landmark and thousands more for repairs. Area filmmaker Rich Lasky says whether the theater is used for educational or artistic purposes, it should be saved. The National Association of Theater Owners says Independent movie houses in small towns are struggling to stay in business as Hollywood studios switch from 35 millimeter film to digital. Spokesperson Patrick Corcoran says converting one screen to digital costs 70-thousand dollars, a price small operators cannot pay.