Rylander on hard times again - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Rylander on hard times again

July 18, 2003

Americus-- Less than four years after the Rylander Theater reopened, it's in jeopardy of closing because of a lack of money. The historic Americus theater is losing thousands of dollars a year and one city leader says it has to stop.

Richard Gay, who operates George's Soda Fountain, had a surprise with his morning coffee. "I read it in today's paper, and I was 'Wow, what's going to happen to me?'"

Gay's shop, George's Soda Fountain, is adjacent to the Rylander Theater. He just opened March first, now he's wondering what's next. "So if there is not going to not be a theater, who am I going to deal with? Are they going to let me know I have to close? I don't know."

"As of yesterday they had 19.22 cents in the bank." Sybil Smith is the Chief Administrative Officer for Americus. She says even with the $40,000 injection of cash the Rylander recieved last month from the city, they are still in debt. "Looking at the five year history the theater has lost more than $100,000 a year in it's programing."

"Well keep it to simple arthimetic, we have alot more expense then revenue and its a no-brainer to me its a limit how much money you can pour into something." Councilman Leonard Waitsman thinks the Rylander needs to close down.

But not permanently. "No, no. I believe after we get over the soft economy we can regroup and open it back up."

No decision has been formally made to close the Rylander, or lay off the employees. But people who depend on the Rylander want some answers soon.

Attendance at shows over the past two weekends have been poor. For both shows, fewer than 200 tickets were sold for the 600+ seat venue.

The Theater Authority meets Tuesday to decide whether to close the Rylander's doors.

posted at 5:30PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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