Pickwick Theatre In Center of Struggle
PARK RIDGE, IL – The landmark 76 year-old Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge, which is a symbol of this Chicago suburb, is finding itself in the midst of a struggle between the City of Park Ridge, its owners, the Vlahakis family, and the Pickwick Theatre Council, according to the Mount Prospect Journal.
The Art Deco-style former vaudeville house (and one of the largest movie palaces in the Chicago suburbs) needs extensive repairs and renovations according to Pickwick Theatre Council president Catherine Kenney.
City officials want to inspect the theater to verify its needs for upgrades and repairs, but cannot legally enter the building without the owner’s approval. The relationship between all three parties has been called “adversarial” by city council members.
Kenney agrees “We are adversaries. The owners promised us they would donate the theater as a tax credit, but since then they have rescinded that. They regard the Pickwick as a piece of real estate. We regard it as a valuable historical landmark that needs a lot of repair and upgrade, and is a marvelous place for live theatre events.”
The Vlahakis family in a letter to the Mayor of Park Ridge, Michael S. Marous, stated the theater isn’t for sale, and is more successful than ever and have put more than $500,000 into maintenance and repairs over the years. Kenney disagrees, “A theatre offering discount priced movies is a dinousaur. It needs to diversify.”