FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The owners of The Painted Table catering company submitted an offer to purchase the Tower Theatre following pushback from community members after Adventure Church sought to purchase it themselves.
“The Tower Theatre is the Tower Theatre, it’s not the church theatre. It belongs to the whole Tower district and its residents,” Tower District resident Sarah Puckett said.
Puckett participated in the protest on Sunday in opposition to the church purchasing the theatre.
Following community concern, The Painted Table co-owner Jeromie Hansen said they decided to submit an offer.
“I sat down with my husband Rod and I was like, ‘we have to do something here,'” Hansen said.
They’ve had The Painted Table in the Tower District for almost 12 years. Recently, Hansen said they purchased Tornino’s Banquets and will be moving their business there. But Hansen said they want to continue being a part of the Tower District community and want to preserve the theatre as an entertainment venue.
“Our goal is to really maintain this vibrant epicenter of the arts and culture and this community. It’s like the heartbeat of our area,” Hansen said.
Community members protested in front of the Tower Theatre for the second weekend in a row on Sunday to show their opposition to rezoning. Laura Splotch, one of the coordinators of the demonstration, showed support for the owners of The Painted Table.
“It’s awesome because they’re Tower people. They’ve had the business here on the corner in the Tower complex for many years. It’s a huge deal. It would save the rezoning thing that we’re actually fighting against,” Splotch said.
The rezoning that would have to occur if the church moves in worries business owners and residents.
Adventure Church issued a statement last week that indicated that the church has not requested zoning changes.
However, according to a letter by the city manager, the Tower Theatre falls into an area zoned as a commercial main street, and if it’s “proposed to be used for community and religious assembly as either the principal or accessory use,” the city would have to amend its general plan and go through the process of rezoning.
“Adventure’s intention for the purchase of the building is to preserve the historic and beloved landmark and keep it from closing,” the church said in the statement.
Eyewitness News reached out to Adventure Church for an interview but did not get an immediate response back.
Hansen said rezoning is something they want to avoid.
“We saw Disney movies back when we were kids there and we want the next generation to experience the power of what the property does to a human being, so it’s important,” Hansen said.