Springdale Groups Fight to Save Apollo

Springdale, AR - The Apollo Theater is on the chopping block, but the downtown landmark received a stay of execution this week.

When it was built in 1949, the Apollo was one of the area's first modern cinemas, and many people saw their first movie in the space. Now the building is uninhabitable, and in an effort to clean up the downtown area the city is considering razing the building. Realtor Philip Taldo says investors are interested, and he asked the council for extra time to try to sell the Apollo.

"There's some cities around us that have lots of old buildings to restore but it's pretty limited here in Springdale," Taldo says. "We're really trying to preserve what we have and what we can."

When Amber Perrodin and her husband decided to start a business, they knew exactly where to set up.

"I'm a fourth generation Springdale native," she says. "We're really interested about the downtown area and seeing... new energy coming into downtown."

The Perrodin's warehouse was once home to the Springdale Central Market, and the couple bought the property to make sure the building wasn't destroyed.

"This was a market where trucks and farmers would back up and they would literally auction off their produce to then be dispersed into local grocery stores," Perrodin says. "This building already meant a lot to us and we knew it had historical significance, but to find out the meaning was really meaningful for us."

Now they've shifted attention to the Apollo.

"It's kind of on the chopping block right now," she says. "I think it's definitely within the next year or two it will be at a spot where it may not be saveable, it's at a time now that someone needs to step in."

The building is listed at $70,000, and Taldo is looking for estimates on repairing the roof.

"That would stabilize the building so it doesn't deteriorate any further," he says. "Potential buyers need some idea about the cost of the roof, because that is undoubtedly the first thing that needs to be done."

The city council tabled plans to raze the building for 90 days, and will revisit the Apollo's future in July.

"The charm and the character of an old building is so important," Perrodin says. "That is the thing that makes people excited about downtown areas, and Springdale is slowly letting that slip through their fingers."

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