By Mark Caro, Tribune Reporter
The front doors are boarded up in shades of gray and beige, while the weathered marquee, propped up by four poles anchored near the street, displays empty light-bulb sockets and the rusty white letters out front spelling “UPTOWN.” Stragglers in this diverse, ever-struggling neighborhood might lean against the boards for a smoke or cellphone chat, but nothing's going on here. Hasn't been, really, for almost 30 years.
Here's a classic photo of urban blight.
Here's the crumpled paper wrapping around a diamond.
Remove the padlocks from the makeshift wooden doors, step through the entryway into Uptown Theatre's main lobby, however, and you're in gasp city. What you see makes the Chicago Theatre's grand entrance look like a guesthouse foyer.
"Your jaw drops," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose support for this crumbling, 86-year-old theater has triggered renewed hopes for a revitalized Uptown neighborhood. "It's stunning." Continue Reading
Update: From Ald. Cappleman's latest newsletter -- "Yesterday I met with Ald. Osterman, individuals from various city departments, members of the mayor's staff, Uptown United and Jerry Michelson from JAM Productions to discuss our vision for the Uptown Entertainment District. We received updated information about the Uptown Theater and discussed how we can all work together to make this a destination stop in the city. I am encouraged by the support from the Mayor that we will make the Entertainment District dream a reality. We will continue to work out a plan and implementation over the coming months."