The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 1, 2013

Preservation group excited about move


ASHTABULA — Kris Hamrick remembers the smell of popcorn, the sound of the movie reels turning on the projector and laughing at the cartoons shown before every movie.

Hamrick, founder of Saving Ashtabula’s History Organization, likes to reminisce about Saturdays spent at the old Shea’s Theater, once the centerpiece of downtown Ashtabula.

Last week, the group got good news — the Ashtabula County Council on Aging Board voted to accept an Ashtabula businessman’s donation of property at 4148 Main Ave. for use as a senior center.

The council plans to move the Senior Center north of its current site — the old Shea’s Theater at 4632 Main Ave.

“Everyone here is elated to hear that the Senior Center has found a new residence and will be relocating this fall to their new location,” Hamrick said. “Saving Shea’s Theater has been one of our many projects that we have been working hard to see come to fruition.”

The Saving Ashtabula’s History group plans to meet to discuss its next move, Hamrick said.

 Ashtabula Council on Aging President Troy Bailey said he has not talked with the Saving Ashtabula’s History group.

The council plans to renovate and update the new site, which is a former bank building. Ken Kister gave them the property, he said.

The Council on Aging received a $247,000 grant to fix it up.

The council owns Shea’s Theater and has kept it up over the years.

“We have no immediate plans for its use after the move,” Bailey said.

When the Council on Aging moved in several years ago, it closed off the theater portion of the building.