Robins Project seeks to reopen Warren theater

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – The grand staircases, marble columns and ornate ceiling are still intact at the Robins Theater in downtown Warren.

They are just covered under a thick layer of dust.

“It’s very, very said we have reached this stage and nothing has been about it,” Greg Stroup said.

Stroup, 62, came to the Robins Theater as a kid.

“We enjoyed them quite a bit. It was the grandest thing in the world to come down,” Stroup said.

The theater was open for 51 years and closed to the public in 1974. It has been collecting dust ever since, but a grassroots organization called The Robins Project is looking to bring the theater back to life.

“The theater now is in the state of disrepair, but personally when you come here, all you see is opportunity,” Melissa Holmes said.

Holmes is one of the main people behind The Robins Project.

The last time there was a show inside the theater was 40 years ago. Cost estimates to reopen it is approximately $14 million.

That price tag has supporters concerned.

“My concern is the money going to be there for a project this size and then is it going to be able to be maintained,” Stroup said.

Cindee Mines, who supports the project, said the reopening of the Robins Theater has been tried many times before with no success. However, she said she is “cautiously optimistic” this time will be successful.

Holmes said the group would work to make sure they applied for and received tax credits, which would reduce the price tag to around $3 million. The group is in the very early stages of the planning process and are not sure yet whether it will be brought back only as a theater.

“Realistically, it will be a few years before groundbreaking,” Holmes said.

The organization is banking on more volunteers to help move the project ahead. They also said they plan to learn from the mistakes of previous efforts.

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