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Palm Springs renovating historic Plaza Theatre

Officials are calling it the rebirth of an icon. The historic Plaza Theatre in downtown Palm Springs is being renovated.

Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon took News Channel 3’s Jake Ingrassia on a tour of the theater, and said the structure of the building is still sound.

“The bones of this place are incredibly intact, it’s solid as a rock,” Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon said. “But it needs a good old fashioned Palm Springs facelift.”

The Plaza Theatre closed its doors in 2014 after nearly 80 years. The theater, home of the Palm Springs Follies act, was an economic boom for nearby businesses.

“800 people in and out twice a day,” said Debby Alexander, owner of Peabody’s Cafe in Palm Springs. “So, it was 4 times 800 people walking by your place. … It was literally 20 percent of my business, was the Follies.”

When the theater closed businesses like Peabody’s started hurting.

“It was emotionally hard,” Alexander said. “I did not set up my business plan for the shut down of the Follies.”

Nostalgic for old times, Alexander is hoping for a reopen.

“Of course i like to see the foot traffic — that’s huge,” she said. “And also just I miss it. I miss having them next door.”

But what’s the restoration going to cost?

Mayor Moon said it would take a minimum of $10 million, and probably more like $12 million, to take care of everything that needs to be done. He said most of the fundraising will be done by residents of Palm Springs.

“Even the most solid building, if it sits vacant for a long time, will deteriorate,” Moon said. “We need to save this building, and the only way to save it is to use it.”

Click here if you are interested in donating to the restoration fund.

The city will be holding an open community forum at the Plaza Theatre Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Residents are invited to join in and learn more about the restoration process.

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