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'The Fight Continues': Group Opposes Planning Commission Recommendation To Tear Down Royal Oak Main Art Theatre

(CBS DETROIT)- Members of the Royal Oak Planning Commission vote 4-2 to have the Royal Oak Main Art Theatre demolished, to make space for a mixed-use building, but supporters of the historic site say, they're not giving up just yet.

"We would go to the midnight movies with them when they were a little bit older past their bedtime to see some of the incredible indie and historically significant films," said Jason Krzysiak, Founder of the group, Friends of Main Art Theatre as he reflected on taking his kids to see movies at the historic theatre.

Krzysiak didn't grow up near the theater but says he would pass several other movie theaters just to catch a flick there.

As an adult, he says the theatre inspired him to move down the street to Pleasant Ridge.

"We felt comfortable raising our family in a community that values the arts, that values cinema and values community," Krzysiak said.

That's why he says, he's working so hard to help keep the theatre from being torn down.

Tuesday night the Royal Oak Planning Commission recommended approval of a proposed development. The proposal will be scheduled for review by the Royal Oak City Commission when final plans and documents are ready.

The building would feature commercial, retail, restaurant and living spaces.

"It's very difficult to make a case that adding another mixed-use kind of multipurpose structure to Royal Oak gives it anything that it doesn't have," said Detroit film critic George Elkind.

Elkind and Krzysiak spoke at the meeting in support of saving the theatre as did many others.

The theatre is privately owned and closed during the pandemic, but Krzysiak says no matter what, he'll continue fighting for the site to not only re-open its doors but remain here on Main street.

"If we continue to lose places like the Royal Oak Main Art Theatre it really undermines so much about why we choose to live in this community," Krzysiak said.

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