TIF revenue to revitalize Granada Theatre - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

TIF revenue to revitalize Granada Theatre

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MT. VERNON, Ill. -- The City of Mt. Vernon will distribute more than $213,000 over five years to the historic Granada Theatre. 

That money will come from tax increment financing, or TIF. The Granada Theatre sits in a TIF district on the city's east side. City Manager Mary Ellen Bechtel said the city has been working to make the area attractive for business and industry for over 10 years.

"The intent of it was just trying to regenerate and redevelop the heart of Mt. Vernon all the way down to Veterans Drive. I would say it's been very successful," said Bechtel.

The auditorium will look much different by next spring. The floor will have three tiers of space available for seating, and dancing among other activities.

"We will accommodate anywhere from 500-900 people depending on the type of event," said volunteer Sandy Sinnett, who was the theatre's general manager for a few months in 2018. Russell Brown is currently serving that role.

She said the theatre space will be modernized and can be used for tons of events. The Granada's lobby will keep its 1930s appliances and aesthetic.

"Gala dinners... weddings... all the way to community theatre, and bringing in concerts and bands of all genres," said Sinnett.

Bechtel and Sinnett were both born and raised in Jefferson County. They say they're proud to see the Granada's upcoming transformation become a reality. 

"That's where you went when you wanted to go to the show on Friday or Saturday night. And it does have a lot of sentimental value to people who live here," said the city manager.

"There's so many people with so many memories tied to this place. From their first kiss, to their first boyfriend. Just everything. And if we can keep that alive in the community, I think it just makes it something worth coming to see here," said Sinnett.

The city has taken on 70 projects valued at more than $10 million over the last decade. A little more than $5 million of that has come from TIF district funds returning to community development.

Sinnett says the theatre could be ready as early as March.

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