Park Theatre plans roof repairs, but free summer shows go on

NORTH VERNON — The historic Park Theatre will be getting some help from the city for needed roof repairs.

The North Vernon Redevelopment Commission on Friday agreed to provide a 10-year no-interest loan to help the downtown landmark make needed repairs necessitated by water intrusion due to issues with a neighboring building that shares a common wall.

“A lot of stress is off me today, and I can’t thank the commission enough for the support they have given,” Patti Yount, president of the nonprofit Park Theatre Civic Centre said Friday.

She said the nonprofit theatre is planning repairs that will tally about $68,000, and Royalty Roofing of Seymour will begin extensive repair roof July 5. Before then, the contractor will come and temporarily patch a rift that’s causing water to enter the theater along a common wall.

The commission on Friday granted approval for a no-interest loan that will cover 80% of the repair costs, up to $55,000, Yount said.

The work comes just as the theater is gearing up to celebrate 20 years since it reopened under the direction of the nonprofit Park Theatre Civic Centre, which Yount notes relies entirely on volunteers and more than 120 individual sponsors.

She said the theater was rescued from plans to demolish it for a parking lot. “We all on my board of directors all feel an obligation to make sure the Park Theatre is never abandoned again,” she said.

Among the local community offerings is the Free Family Film series that has become a summer staple. And estimated 4,000 are expected to attend shows.

“We’re happy to put on this festival every summer as our gift to the children of the community,” said Patti Yount of the Park Theatre. “Some of these kids otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to see movies on the big screen. It’s because of … volunteers and sponsors that we’re able to do this, and the kids just love it.”

The theater, which dates to 1916 and originally was a showplace for silent films and vaudeville-style entertainment, is a hub of community activities. In addition to movies, the theatre hosts plays by the Jennings County Players, concerts, live performances and other events.

Yount notes the theater has even hosted nationally known acts to inspire young people in the community to see that they can dream and that a life in the arts, while hard, is possible.

For more information about the theater, visit its Facebook pages or