• by Kirk Gaw

Is Walkerton Making Full Use Of The Regional Development Agency of St. Joseph, Elkhart, And Marshall

On April 1st the Plymouth Pilot News reported that the Regional Development Agency awarded the Rees Theater Project $300,000 for renovations from the Regional Cities Fund. Meanwhile, in downtown Walkerton, the empty hulking shell of the old Rialto Theater lot remains. The theater built in 1922 burnt down in a fire in 1983.

Lot of former Rialto Theater in downtown Walkerton was always a crowd pleaser for the community. Photo taken by Harmony Lynn Inman.

Recently, the Walkerton Page conducted a poll asking participants to offer what type of businesses they would like to see on the retail strip of Roosevelt Rd. in downtown Walkerton. Here is the question posed from April 5th: "Now that "Memories Pizza" has closed, it, and a lot of downtown commercial real estate can be the location for some great dining and retail! What would you like to see in those empty spaces on Roosevelt?"

The Rees Project of Plymouth recently recieved a grant of $300,000 after a local committee saw through applications to the Regional Development Development Agency of St. Joseph, Elkhart, and Marshall counties.

The majority of those polled said their number one choice is to have the theater rebuilt to show movies! So, who do we approach to work on a master plan for the Walkerton Commercial District? The Walkerton Economic Development Director is Phil Buckmaster.

The Rialto Theater on Roosevelt Rd. in downtown Walkerton during the 1970's. The theater burnt down in 1983.

It is best for interested residents to attend the Walkerton Town Council and approach them about the idea to begin a commitee to return a theater where the Rialto once provided entertainment. A committee can create fundraising ideas and apply for necessary grants to see a project like this through? It is all a matter of who would like to devote the time necessary to see this vision happen? Together, the community of Walkerton can make a success for a viable entertainment district! Complete with theater, gift shops, art galleries, restaurants, and retail? Why wait for surrounding communities to continue to pass us up?

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