Retlaw Theater Demolition Approved

Fond du Lac’s Historic Preservation Commission put emotions aside last night and voted for the immediate partial demolition of the Retlaw Theater. More than 50 people turned out for the meeting including those who had a proposal for a performing arts academy at the site. But a representative for the seller and others who had taken a long look at what would be needed to restore the theater said it wasn’t feasible. Commonwealth Development’s plan would preserve the front façade of the theater. Commission Chairperson Lisa Pauly was one of those who grew up watching movies at the theater and said it was a tough decision. Commonwealth had the only legitimate offer to purchase after the seller showed the building to more than 20 different possible buyers. At the end of the meeting City Manager Joe Moore commended the commission for the tough decision it had to make. He says the number of people allowed to speak and the decision making process was democracy in action. Construction will begin within 90 days.