City issues statement on CREATE’s decision to abandon Fox project
By Gazette staff
STEVENS POINT – The city of Stevens Point has issued a statement regarding CREATE’s abandonment of their plans for the FOX theater.
The statement reads “The City received notice from the Director of CREATE Portage County, Greg Wright, that they have chosen to tear down the FOX Theater and abandon their plans to repurpose that facility.
The building was turned over to the then Arts Alliance of Portage County by the Sanders family in 2011. Over the years the property was moved into an LLC and entities have had several name changes.
There have been ideas and some fundraising during that time, and the City has been supportive of these efforts over the course of several years, including funding for an engineering study. More recently, the City Council approved an agreement with Create in a plan to repurpose the facility, and offered $250,000 to assist with the project.
Unfortunately, the structure has continued to degrade and efforts to stop the declining condition have not been sufficient. Recent inspections by the city and CREATE’s hired contractors have shown significant issues and have forced the city to issue a raze order to ensure public safety. The City has been working with CREATE/Fox on Main to extend that deadline for as long as possible, and worked with CREATE to develop a mutually agreed upon plan to secure the structure before winter. However, CREATE/Fox on Main has informed us that they will not be carrying out that plan.
The City is disappointed that this plan to save the Fox fell through, and we are sure that many community members feel the same way. However, deteriorating buildings can only wait for so long while various plans are developed and discussed, so the timeline for implementation is not infinite. With that being said, the City remains willing to discuss any last minute options with any other party that would have the ability to save the building.”