Community rallies to save the Park Theatre
By Kelsey Smith
With a crumbling brick wall and only weeks to fix it or face possibly being shut down, the Park Theatre in downtown Holland has received outpouring support from the local community and has been under repair since September.
“Once the news about the theater hit the front page, people from all over the community were saying, ‘whoa, we just can’t let that place close,’” said Bob Schulze, president of the Park Theatre Foundation Board. “All of a sudden, this grassroots fundraising came up and we were getting contacted from all over — people were coming in and just handing over checks.”
When the Reliable Sport building next door was torn down in October 2018, the south wall’s damage became more noticeable to the public. The nonprofit music and arts venue received a notice from the City of Holland in fall 2019 stating that it had three weeks to fix issues with the building, including the deteriorating bricks on its south wall.
After receiving the notice from the city, the Park Theatre Foundation board members set a fundraising goal of $50,000. Supporters of the historic theater came together and raised over $30,000 in just 10 days.
“We’re still shooting for that $50,000,” Schulze said. “The fundraising never stops — we always have something the theater could use. We’re going to fix and satisfy everything that needs to be done with the City. We’re going to do that plus a little bit more — it’s going to be a brand-new looking place.”
In addition to donations and fundraisers, the Park Theatre has received funds from the efforts of one of its own. Board member Jon Cusack has been selling custom-made guitar pedals to fund renovations and has raised over $6,000.
“That’s the reason we’re all still involved — not only because we love music, but because we love live performances and we love the energy and the alterative nature of the theatre,” Schulze said. “There’s no place around here like it — this is really a unique spot.”
For information on how to donate, visit the Park Theatre’s website.
S. River Ave., Holland