| Post your comment in Town Square: www.almanacnews.com
The Park Theatre, a Menlo Park landmark for more than 50 years, may reopen after all.
Menlo Park resident Andy Duncan has come forward with a proposal to restore the historic theater, and reopen it as an art deco movie house or as a dance studio.
The former movie house, which was closed in 2002, is located on El Camino Real between Oak Grove and Valparaiso avenues.
Mr. Duncan, whose mother is a partial owner of the Menlo Park Academy of Dance, said he will present a "general overview" of his plans at the beginning of the Jan. 23 City Council meeting. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center, between Laurel and Alma streets.
Mr. Duncan said his plan is to "restore the theater, and then find out the most appropriate use for the building."
"I've lived in the Menlo Park and Atherton area my whole life, and I went to the Park Theatre as a kid," Mr. Duncan said. "Something needs to be done to restore the theater back to the glory of what it was."
He said he has not submitted an application to the city's planning department, but he has been in talks with Atherton resident Howard Crittenden, who owns the theater, for four months.
Mayor Kelly Fergusson said Mr. Duncan has an option on the property to "test the waters and see if the idea will fly."
He said Mayor Fergusson has been "very helpful" in making plans to revamp the theater.
"I've been determined to bring the Park Theatre back to life," Mayor Fergusson said. "Right now, the theater is deteriorating badly. We need to restore it -- it's such a treasure and a symbol of Menlo Park.
Mr. Crittenden closed the theater in August 2002, and it has stayed empty since. He said the theater's tenant, Landmark Theaters, could not afford to pay market-level rent.
Are you receiving Express, our free daily e-mail edition? See a sample and sign-up for Express.