A former Fallon resident, I recently had cause to be in town and while it’s nice to see the community’s growth. I was saddened by the state of Maine Street and the Fallon Theater in particular.
I heard talk about some group wanting to put in a multiplex, perhaps out on the east end of town, and such a thing would surely be the death-knell of the historic theater if it happened.
This brought to mind another endangered historic theater in a moribund downtown, a story which has a happy ending. The Alameda Theater in Alameda, Calif., had been closed for years, but in 2005 a project was started which both restored the theater and helped revitalize the commercial corridor where it stands, Rather than building a new cineplex elsewhere in the city, property adjoining the existing theater was used to build a structure containing a multi-screen cineplex. This was connected to the historic theater, which was restored to become the main big screen of this complex.
Given the empty storefronts sharing the Fallon Theater’s block it certainly appears that there’s ample room for a theater complex in the heart of Fallon, assuming the appropriate deals could be made and there were enough economic incentives for a developer and the current owners of the theater and adjoining properties to undertake such a plan.
The trend for new businesses to push out towards the edges of the city is at the cost of the desiccation of the city center. It seems like something like what was done in Alameda could be one way to try to bring economic development back to downtown.
A humble thought, for what it’s worth.