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Vista roof collapse in Negaunee impacts entire community

In an instant, the roof of the Historic Vista Theater in Negaunee collapsed on Wednesday morning.

It’s heartrending to look at the photos of the collapsed area of the grand old structure. For nearly 100 years, the Vista has stood on Iron Street, the main drag through Negaunee. It opened on Sept. 20, 1926 and is now the home for the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council.

The Vista was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Early assessments of the collapse are pointing to roof drainage failure as the primary cause.

According to a Thursday story by Journal Staff Writer Ryan Spitza, there is much hope.

As of now, the building does not need to be torn down, and PAAC has no intentions to do so.

“We are not aware that we had any issues with this particular roof, but the building being well over 100 years old and having other issues within the past, one would not say this was expected, but this was not out of the realm of possibility of happening,” said PAAC board President and Negaunee City Manager Nate Heffron. “It’s unfortunate that it happened, and we are working to assess the situation and see how we can potentially save and repair this building.

“I want to make it clear that the building is not in the position where it needs to be torn down as far as we understand at this point. This building still appears to be very solid, it just suffered that roof collapse, which we believe is attributed to the failure of the roof drains.”

Many people have enjoyed live shows at the Vista for years. And a dedicated group of volunteers worked diligently to bring the old structure back to life, bit by bit.

We have faith that plans to repair the damage will be made by those who run the theater now. This shocking event will not break the spirit of the people who love the theater and take great pride in bringing quality entertainment to the area.

We will watch with eagerness what happens next. And we know we can count on the community to step up to help as it is able.

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