B.G. theater upkeep target of investors


Since a group of investors bought the historic Cla-Zel theater in downtown Bowling Green several years ago, they ve replaced the roof, rehabilitated the lobby, and done a general cleanup.

The next challenge will be a study by architects and engineers of further upkeep needs - from heating and ventilation systems to restrooms - over the next five years, officers of a nonprofit group formed to operate and preserve the Cla-Zel said during a taping of The Editors television program.

A priority will be restoration of the marquee.

“It is the landmark of the downtown,” said Paul Yon, director of development of Cla-Zel Theater, Inc. “The marquee is vitally important for the preservation of the facility itself.”

The local investors learned the theater was for sale and snapped it up.

“Quite frankly, we were concerned that it might cease operations as a movie theater,” said Richard Newlove, president of the nonprofit group.

The group found broad community support for saving the theater and so formed a nonprofit corporation that can accept private donations.

The theater opened in 1926 and, according to the group s research, it is Ohio s oldest single-screen movie house in continuous operation.

“So we have a very distinguished, unique facility that is in need of preservation,” Mr. Yon said.

The Cla-Zel plans to continue a focus on first-run films, although school and theater groups have used it for performances, Mr. Yon said. Independent and art films have drawn the interest and support of devotees throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Mr. Yon and Mr. Newlove were interviewed by Thomas Walton, vice president-editor of The Blade.

The Editors will be broadcast at 8:30 tonight on WBGU-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.