It was a sight that left people in Edmonton’s theatre community saddened but plans are underway to bring the Roxy Theatre back to 124 Street again.
“It’s a confidence builder for us,” said Bradley Moss, the artistic director of Theatre Network. “This is going to happen.”
“I miss driving down 124 Street and seeing the sign.”
On Jan. 13, 2015, the building that housed the Roxy burned to the ground. The structure dated back to 1938; the theatre company itself was founded in 1975.
“Knowing the amount of people it brings into 124 Street, that it affects all the businesses around it,” Darrin Hagen said, explaining the impact the venue had in Westmount.
READ MORE: Roxy Theatre destroyed by fire
Hagen and others were on hand at the Roxy’s temporary home as both the city and Ottawa announced more than $500,000 in combined funding for design work for a new building.
The contribution from Edmonton is just over $200,000; the money coming from the Community Facility Partner Capital Grant Program. That program is funded in part through photo radar revenue.
“Our real intent with photo radar is still to get people to slow down,” Ward 8 Councillor Ben Henderson said.
Revenue from photo radar doesn’t go into general city coffers. It’s split several ways, including for traffic safety initiatives and community programs.
“One of the things we thought would be good was to put it into this fund which went back into the community,” Henderson said.
“It was a huge loss to the city.”
The overall rebuild is estimated to cost between $10 million and $12 million. The budget includes a new building, equipment and an endowment fund to keep things running.
Insurance will cover some costs, but Theatre Network will soon be launching a fundraising campaign.
“When we have some design pictures of the building, I think that’s going to be the timing when we will release more… the campaign, as well,” Moss said.
If everything goes according to plan, a new Roxy Theatre building could open on 124 Street by 2020.