Reviving entertainment, business by restoring The Columbia Theatre

The Columbia Club Task Force is still hard at work, trying to revive a big piece of local history. If you aren’t old enough to remember catching a show at The Columbia Theatre, there’s a good chance you’ve at least seen its neon lights gone dark now at Broadway and Fifth. The task force says there’s value in bringing it back as another venue for entertainment in downtown Paducah.

Maiden Alley Cinema is the only option for movie lovers in downtown Paducah. “It’s time for us to grow up and expand,” said Executive Director Landee Bryant-Greene. There’s also only one option on their marquee right now, because of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’s distribution company. “In order to get it, we have to commit to showing it for three weeks straight… and we have to show it week nights as well,” she said, “It really showcases why one screen is so extremely limiting for us.”

The ability to offer more variety is the main reason why she sees value in turning the lights back on at The Columbia Theatre. “That would expand three screens, have an awesome 300-seat music venue on the ground floor… People are gonna have more opportunities and choices when they come downtown,” she said.

Restoring the Columbia not only adds entertainment value to downtown Paducah, it also adds a historical value. It is immortalized on a panel of the flood wall showing what the area looked like in the 1940s back when the area was in its their heyday. “I think the nostalgia that goes along with it, I think what it means in peoples hearts and their memories of that place is a big part of it too,” said Bryant-Greene.

Reviving the theatre is an ongoing effort to bring business and entertainment back to that block of Broadway.

The Columbia Club Task Force has state funding from the EPA for $49,000. Right now, they’re trying to leverage that to get federal funds for the project.

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