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City of Las Vegas may play pivital role in saving The Huntridge

Reported by: Venise Toussaint
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Updated: 5/13 8:21 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The Huntridge Theater is an historic landmark that has been vacant for years.

The latest efforts to revive the Huntridge are being called the best chance yet to re-open the theater that drew big crowds in the 1940s and '50s.

The city of Las Vegas could play a big role in bringing the theater back to life.

There have been several failed attempts over the years, but longtime residents of this neighborhood and others with fond memories of the Huntridge Theater aren’t giving up. A $1 million grant and an important purchase by the city could breathe new life into efforts to reopen the Huntridge.

It represents historic preservation; The Huntridge was the first desegregated theater in Las Vegas.

Behind the historic Huntridge Theater sits a neighborhood equally rich in history.

"A lot of people have lived in that neighborhood since those homes were new in the '40s," said Kathleen Kahr D’Esposito, who has lived in this neighborhood for more than 20 years. She’s a member of the Huntridge Neighborhood Association and has worked to re-open the theater and bring back the nostalgia that comes with it.

The theater first opened in 1944 and for decades was the place to be for shows, concerts and entertainment in the valley, but tough economic times have shuttered its doors for nearly a decade.

Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin is a member of the Las Vegas Centennial Commission which is considering a vote to grant $1 million to save the Huntridge. That money, Coffin says, will go towards buying the land the Huntridge sits on.

"That means we'll always have a say in its future," Coffin said.

That would only be the first step, Coffin says. It will take another $3 million from private investors to buy the remaining land surrounding the theater and another $8 million or more to renovate it.

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