East Nashville neighbors push effort to save the Roxy - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

East Nashville neighbors push effort to save the Roxy

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An old building once home to a popular Nashville theater is being called an eyesore. But neighbors say after years of promises to fix up the property, they are now campaigning to "Save the Roxy."

"This was a center where people gathered, met friends, saw a movie. People met their spouses here," said east Nashville resident Dane Forlines.

Nashvillians may remember the Roxy on Meridian Street as a popular spot in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, but after closing roughly 20 years ago, and reopening for a short run as a recording studio, the building is now boarded up and surrounded by weeds.

Metro Councilman Scott Davis said it's not only an eyesore, but also a safety issue.

"The building is unsecured, and it's right next to my school at Glenn Elementary. One of the problems we have is that people will stay in the buildings or hide," Davis said.

Neighbors said the property owner presented a revitalization plan several years ago, but they contend there's been little progress.

"Right now, I have a property owner that's had these grand plans for the last five to seven years, and he's not done anything," Davis said.

Forlines is president of the McFerrin Park Neighborhood Association, and is behind the "Save the Roxy" campaign.

He said residents want to see the Roxy become a community theater or music venue. Neighbors have created a website for the cause, and are organizing events to rally support.

"We're trying to organize an outdoor movie to bring attention to the Roxy. We're also talking about some festival events to pre-vitalize the area, and activate it with pop-up retail," Forlines said.

Forlines said neighbors have been meeting with the property owner, but some fear the property will be sold to a developer more interested in the land rather than restoring the Roxy.

"So we want to find a developer who is interested in preserving the history, the memories that are tied into this area," Forlines said.

The property owner, Bob Solomon, told Channel 4 News he still wants to redevelop the theater, but he can't sell the building or get financing, because the previous owner failed to pay off liens on the building.

Solomon said the case is still tied up in court.

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