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Who will activate the Chateau Theatre?

Rochester's Heart of the City continues evolving and a piece of that is the Historic Chateau Theatre which sits in Peace Plaza. The restoration is underway but now City Council is hearing proposals from groups competing to take over the theatre's management. Learn what residents hope to see done with this part of the community.

Posted: Apr 25, 2019 11:49 PM
Updated: Apr 25, 2019 11:53 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. -

Walk around Peace Plaza and you will see curious people checking out the progress at the Chateau Theatre.

There are as many different opinions about the future of the Chateau as there are people.

"Private event venues sometimes get put by the wayside, so if you have public events as well, that brings in more revenue and keeps it," Alicia Beck said.

Brian Marshall believes it should mostly be used for the public.

"I think it should be about 90 percent public," Brian Marshall said. "I can see some things for weddings and receptions. Things of that nature. There are other places they can have meetings."

Patrick Manansala wants it to be used as a cultural hub for theater and the arts.

"I totally agree with it being a cultural hub where community members can gather around, whether it's visual arts, performing arts," Manansala said.

These options were considered at a City Council study session tonight. Mayor Kim Norton wants to make sure the future of the Chateau is not reduced to a popularity contest.

"People really need to think hard about activating this for millions of visitors a year who are hanging around downtown during the day who are looking for something to do," Norton said.

City Councilmember Mark Bilderback thinks the Chateau is an important centerpiece for Rochester.

"The Chateau is really the heart of the city," Bilderback said.

Rick Plaisted grew up in Rochester until he was 10 years old and remembers going to the Chateau Theatre as a kid for just 25 cents a movie and remembers seeing the marquee light up.

"A lot of wonderful people here, working, living their lives," Plaisted said. "A lot of people being healed. This has a healing effect."

The City will put out a poll to learn more about what people would like to see done. City Council will have a discussion May 6th and will make a decision then.

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