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Old Leetonia movie theater razed

November 19, 2012
Morning Journal News

LEETONIA- The old movie theater on Chestnut Street has been razed. Asbestos abatement took place on Thursday and demolition on Friday.

According to Zoning Inspector John Rydarowicz, the building had been vacant for several decades and had become a hazard, with no roof and the walls caving in. Building owner Greg Chepke paid for the demolition.

The village had attempted to have the building torn down for at least the past five years, Rydarowicz said, but Chepke had been delaying because he had a reported buyer. Chepke had been cited into Mayor's Court on zoning violations on three occasions, Rydarowicz added.

Article Photos

The dilapidated movie theater on Chestnut Street in Leetonia was razed Friday by owner Greg Chepke. The nearly 100-year-old building had sat vacant for approximately 50 years. (Salem News photo by Kevin Howell)

Rydaowicz last fall had Seidler Engineering of Girard complete an assessment of the building which revealed that it was in such poor condition that high winds or seismic activity could have caused it to collapse, he said, posing a danger to anyone on the surrounding streets.

"It was getting to the point where the village would have had to take it down (at its own expense)," Rydarowicz said.

According to members of the Leetonia/Salem Township Historical Society, the theater was opened in 1917 by Pat Kelly. It was formerly called at various times the American, the Gem and the Mantis.

Kevin Howell can be reached at



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