Courtney Kerrigan
Ohio.com correspondent


BARBERTON: The final step in the purchase of Lake Cinemas passed Monday night when City Council unanimously approved the $545,000 sale of the theater to Neighborhood Development Services.



“I'm just happy and excited that the theater's going to reopen,” Mayor Bill Judge said. “It's something we've been working on for a year to keep that active and open. This was the last hurdle with the passage of council.”



NDS will pay for the theater with a $545,000 Program Related Investment loan from Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC).



NDS Executive Director Dave Vaughan said the next step would be closing the loan with BCDC to then execute the purchase of the theater from the city.



The BCDC received the loan from the Barberton Community Foundation’s economic development fund. The Barberton Community Foundation approved the loan to BCDC Thursday in a unanimous vote to fund the sale. NDS will pay back BCDC in a five-year mortgage on the property.



Neighborhood Development Services is also finalizing an agreement with Great Oak Cinemas of Wadsworth to operate the theater.



“Things kind of fell apart at the end of 2012 with the former operator, so we've been working very diligently to work with other interested parties to reopen the theater,” Judge said. “Now the owners and the operators can continue working with Sony to get the visual equipment and work with contractors to get it renovated.”



NDS will spend about $250,000 of its own money to install digital equipment, two 3-D screens and to renovate the entryway.



Judge said they're still looking at an April 1 open date.



Council also approved a Community Development Block Grant of up to $620,000 to NDS for economic development of downtown Barberton and to help with the theater.



The block grant is federal money that the city will issue in five installments of $124,000 per year, Judge explained.



“It will be used to help with the theater,” Vaughan said. “And anything not used on the theater will be used in downtown Barberton for other economic deals.”