Portage Park Neighborhood Association and John Arena sent out an email on the new development in the ongoing drama over The Portage Theater. (You can read the statement here. Just scroll halfway down the column)
It’s been sold to Eddie Carranza, current owner of The Congress Theater. The big concern with much of the community is the reputation of The Congress Theater being a community nuisance. In April, neighbors near The Congress brought complaints about the venue to City Hall. Those grievances ranged from very loud music to issues of safety, magnified by the rape of an underage teen girl near the theater on New Year’s Eve. She had been turned away from the theater shortly before the incident.
I had been reading the Alderman Joe Moreno has been working with The Congress to improve conditions there. That’s great and I really hope this cooperation comes through.
I’ve not ever attended The Congress, so I can’t comment on it, but personally, I almost wish we could learn about the improvements and their effectiveness at The Congress first, before knowing the same owners will be working on an even bigger project with The Portage. I am heartened with their stated willingness to continue having a full range of programming, including films. Hopefully, they’ll allow for the non-profit film groups to still have a home there.
Be that as it may, you can rest assured the neighbors will be watching developments like a hawk.