Owners/Volunteer Group Continue Renovating Old Theater In Rock Rapids

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A landmark in downtown Rock Rapids is starting to look more like it did in its prime.

The Rapids Theatre building was purchased about a year ago by a group calling themselves the Rapids Theatre Preservation Society. And we talked to vice president of the group, Matt Dengler, to get an update on what’s been going on at the theatre.

He says they are almost done with gutting the extra walls and restoring most of the rooms to their original dimensions. The work has involved a lot of cleaning and removal of debris. This past summer, they renovated and lit the original marquee for a celebration during Heritage Days. They have re-installed the neon now as well and installed seven huge windows on the front of the building, thanks to funding from a Lyon County Riverboat Foundation grant. Recently, they’ve been working on weatherization of the building.

He says the new roof and windows have made the building — which used to have big issues with climate control — much more efficient.

Dengler says while the focus has been on removing things that have been added over the years, they are turning the corner right now.

He says they’re getting into the work of adding back the original features.

He says they hope to get every area of the building to a state of being “go-ready”. In other words, when the funds become available and the plans are ready for that area, they can begin work at that time.

The idea is that they would be ready to use at least parts of the building by this time next year. But Dengler says that’s contingent on two things — volunteers and funding.

If you would be interested in helping with either area, you are invited to contact Jackie Telford at 712-472-2434.

The Rapids Theater Preservation Society annual Dinner & Meeting is coming up on Monday, Nov. 26 at 6:30 PM at Sully’s Grill in downtown Rock Rapids. Those interested can call 472-2434 or 472-3782 for reservations.

To hear the entire interview with Dengler, click on the play button (triangle) below.

Click here to go to the Rapids Theatre page on Facebook, which includes many pictures of the theatre and the renovations.

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