The lease for the Mars Theater is finally signed, sealed and delivered.
The Springfield Revitalization Corporation and the city of Springfield have entered into a 50-year lease for the theater. Springfield City Council has approved the lease, and the SRC also has agreed to the terms.
“We’re very happy,” said Rickey Kicklighter of the SRC. “It brings a new day, and we’re moving forward with some construction. It really looks good.”
Under the lease, the city will allocate up to $50,000 for a new roof and other capital improvements to the theatre.
“It is another leap of faith to inject new life into downtown,” City Council member Kenny Usher said. “I hope people will come out and support this project.”
The Mars Theatre was once a gathering spot in Springfield but has been little used for five decades. The SRC purchased the theatre and sold it to the city. The city is leasing it back to the SRC for $1 a year.
The SRC is hoping to use the Mars Theatre, once renovated, as a center for arts programming.
“It has been a long process,” Kicklighter said. “Unfortunately, because of the economy and timing, we were not able to really get going. It now looks like we have an agenda. We’ll be able to secure the building and get it ready to develop, hopefully as an arts and entertainment center for the county.”