Historic Ritz Theatre Set for Renovations and Reconstruction

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND--Plans to open The Ritz Cultural Events Center have been given the green light.  NewsWest 9 first told you about the renovations last May.

The project is able to continue, all thanks to a very generous donation.

Almost a year after announcing plans for the project, Midland's historic Ritz Theater is ready for re-construction.  The building has officially been bought.

The sale was finalized on Friday after a generous gift from Midlander Steve Burleson.

The non-profit group has been trying to raise money to buy the theatre since May of last year. They were able to finance and purchase the downtown theatre for $115,000. Burleson's donation of $30,000 helped seal the deal.

Martha Dunham, who is heading up the campaign, says this is special day, not only for the fine arts community but for the City of Midland as a whole.

"Most of the towns, the size of Midland, who have managed to revitalize their downtowns, started with the revitalization of a historic theatre as a performing arts center. That's exactly what we're hoping it will do for downtown Midland," Dunham said.

The Ritz Cultural Events Center will be the home of The Maverick Players Community Theatre. They also plan to host monthly, themed events, highlighting all the diverse cultures in and around Midland.

Remodeling is scheduled to start sometime next week.

The plan is to make the outside of the building look as much like it did when it was built in the 1930's with state of the art equipment inside.  Dunham says they hope to have the center complete and ready to open by the end of the year.