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Another Step Taken for the Revitalization of the Marianne Theater

Bellevue’s historic crown jewel, the Marianne Theater, will likely take another huge step forward very soon toward revitalization.
When asked at Wednesday’s City Council meeting if any developers had expressed interest in purchasing the property, which is facing an estimated $1 million or more in
rehabilitation costs, Assistant City Administrator Jody Robinson replied, “We’ve had some interest, but nothing formal.”
Robinson went on to inform council that the Marianne Theater task ­force is organizing to review a proposal from the Catalytic Development Fund, which would position Catalytic to help research and determine the best use for the space as well as identify the best developer to purchase it for that use.
“We’re shooting to meet and review within the next three weeks,” she said. 
That’s when Councilman Matt Olliges, who also serves on the task­force, to ask the question that seemed to be on a number of council members’ minds: why wait?
Referring to the Catalytic Fund’s proposal, which would come at a cost to the city of $10,000, Olliges said, “We should jump on that right away. I don’t want to see us wait for a committee if there’s no real need to do so."
He then asked Robinson if her recommendation would ultimately be that the committee ask Council to adopt the Catalytic Fund’s proposal. Robinson replied that she would be comfortable making that recommendation.
“This would be the best $10,000 we’ve spent on the Marianne since we purchased it,” Olliges said. “Let’s get on the market list for the spring selling season."
Freshman Councilman Ryan Salzman echoed Olliges’s opinion, adding that the council members are not the experts; the Catalytic Fund has the experts. He then reinforced his trust in Robinson’s recommendation. Councilman Rodney Poynter then chimed in to the same effect.
This led Oliges to make a motion that Council bypass task­ force consultation and move forward with the Catalytic Fund’s proposal.
Before it could come to a vote, though, City Administrator Keith Spoelker interjected, saying he needs to investigate the legality of such a motion, given the financial burden it would impose on the city. He recommended Council instead move to direct city staff to investigate the Kentucky Revised Statutes for the motion’s legality.
Olliges subsequently amended his motion, which was ultimately approved unanimously by Council, that the city explore and, if legally possible, Council adopt the Catalytic Fund’s proposal to advise the city on securing a developer for the historic theater.
Written by Pat LaFleur, RCN contributor
Photo: Marianne Theater/RCN file