Reposted from the Record Courier 8.5.18 –

By Diane Smith RC Reporter

Backers of Ravenna’s first movie theater in more than 50 years are hoping residents will make a date to see a movie on Aug. 24.

Neighborhood Development Services said the long-awaited Ravenna 7 Movies at 215 W. Cedar Ave. will open its doors to the public that Friday. While there’s no list yet of what films will be shown, they will be first-run, major motion pictures.

“We’re excited to be opening,” said Kate DeAngelis, NDS spokeswoman. “We’re really happy to be bringing first run movies to the city of Ravenna.”

An earlier July opening date had been previously announced. However, NDS officials said previously that the date has moved around a bit because the supplier of lifts for the projectors was running behind schedule.

The first films will start in the afternoon, DeAnglis said, and although there will be “some fanfare,” there won’t be a ribbon cutting or speeches.

“We just want to open our doors to the public,” she said.

The former hardware store was completely renovated, with the entrance off Cedar Avenue instead of North Chestnut Street. Arches on Park Way and at the theater parking lot lead the way to the theater. An outdoor plaza featuring animal sculptures gives families a place to take “selfies” and wait for others to arrive outside the box office.

The front row of each of the seven auditoriums features power reclining seats, while the remaining seats in each theater are rocker recliners in a stadium seating format. Each theater ranges in size from 80 to 240 seats.

Adult tickets will be $8.50, with discounts for children and seniors and an upcharge for 3D movies. There will be a full concession stand, and a loyalty program and gift cards will be offered.

A former tire shop on the property, previously envisioned as a site for a microbrewery, was razed to provide more parking and “enhance the project,” DeAngelis said. There are 118 parking spaces on site, plus other parking options, including a city-owned lot, nearby.

“This is an exciting move,” she said.

Ravenna Mayor Frank Seman said the theater had been three and a half years in the making, with cooperation between NDS and the city, Portage County and state government needed to provide the necessary financing.

“There’s been a lot of delays to get to this point, but I have no doubt this is going to bring businesses to downtown,” he said. “People have been very positive, they talk about how nice it looks and say they can’t wait for it to open. I’m very hopeful to see the excitement about the theater.”

He said some local property owners have purchased several downtown storefronts, and they are looking for clients to fill those storefronts with restaurants and other businesses. Although a previously proposed microbrewery fell through, Seman said he still hopes to see a similar business open elsewhere in the city.