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City Discusses Future of Historic Theater Building

Milwaukee -

Through the windows of his business near 26th and State, Jeffrey McCloud and customers have a clear view of what he said is an eyesore.

"It's a bad sight," he said. "It ain't good for my business."

But it also has value.

He'd like to see the burned out State Theater building saved for another business with apartments upstairs.

"To me it's a historical building," said McCloud.

Others feel the same which is why a citizen filed an application with the city for a 180-day temporary historic designation.

Staff of the Historic Preservation Commission supports the request.

"As a way to determine options for fundraising and options to determine the actual physical condition of the building that remains after the fire," said Carlen Hatala, senior planner with the Historic Preservation Commission.

City inspectors with the Department of Neighborhood Services recommend demolition. They said asbestos, severe structural damage and fixing the stripped electrical system make it unreasonable to repair.

"The building right now is assessed at $67,400," said Brian Kraus with the Department of Neighborhood Services. "My estimates were $539,000."

Because it's a safety hazard, Stacy Wadusky agrees the building should go too to make room for something new in the neighborhood.

"They could build a homeless shelter, that would be a good thing," she said. "There's always homeless people around here."

No decision was made at the March 13th meeting on the temporary historic designation. Members of the council will re-consider the request in 30 days.

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