Girard looks to form Wellman Theater committee

GIRARD — The city looks to establish an advisory committee for overseeing plans for renovating and remodeling the former Wellman Theater on West Liberty Street.

City council approved having legislation prepared to establish the committee. Council next meets on Monday.

Councilman Thomas Grumley, chairman of the health / safety committee, said the committee would include a member of the city administration, a member of council and representatives from the community.

“It will serve as an ad hoc committee as we move forward with this project. We want to get moving on the theater,” Grumley said.

He said he would like to see the committee established before year’s end.

Mayor James Melfi said residents and officials are excited for development in the city’s downtown. He said CT Consultants has evaluated the theater, and a total cost for the project is being tabulated.

He said the city does qualify for Appalachian Regional Commission grant funding that can be used for the project. Melfi said those funds are permitted for theaters and bike trails.

“The project is progressing. We will see what funding we receive to renovate the building and what funds the city will pay for the renovation work,” Melfi said.

Officials said previously they will be able to use $150,000 in American Rescue Plan funds for the project as well.

Mefli said plans for the Wellman Theater are to make it the centerpiece for downtown redevelopment.

Before it was the Wellman, it was the Mock Theater, built in the 1930s. The mayor wants the exterior to be restored to its original appearance. Melfi said he’s heard from people expressing interest in using the facility.

Law Director Brian Kren said the city also is looking at acquiring a vacant property east of the theater.


In other business, city officials and council recognized Maria Selak, who served for many years as the children’s librarian at Girard Free Library and retired in August.

Melfi presented a proclamation to Selak as the library’s first children’s librarian. Selak worked at the library from 1967 to 1978 and 1990 to 2023.

“You have meant so much to the entire city of Girard and working over the years with children and young adults,” he said.

In other action at the meeting, council:

•   Heard from Councilwoman-at-Large Lily Martuccio, who requested legislation be prepared for a future meeting to make it a rule that apartment buildings with four or more dwellings have the main access door locked;

•   Set the finance meeting for 6:30 p.m. Monday.


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