Save the Kechi Playhouse!
The Kechi Playhouse, originally home of the Kechi United Methodist Church, is a landmark structure constructed in 1920. Converted to a community theater in 1983, the Kechi Playhouse is the longest continuously operated business in Kechi. Unfortunately, time and rising maintenance costs have taken a toll on the aging, iconic building.
The Kechi Arts Council recently partnered with city staff to pursue a $250,000 maximum community development block grant (CDBG) through the Kansas Department of Commerce. To qualify for the grant, an application must be submitted by the City of Kechi and requires a 25 percent match from the property owner, Misty Maynard. Maynard also serves as the producer and director for the Kechi Playhouse, which produces a season of five shows each year from May to October. People travel from surrounding cities to enjoy the live shows performed by local actors.
“The Playhouse is a local landmark; that corner would look really weird without it there. To me it’s kind of the heart of the city, as it’s right there at a main intersection,” said Maynard. “I’m really excited to see the old girl getting all fixed up. She’ll be 100 in another year.”
For the last 98 years, the magnificent brick building at the corner of 61st Street North and Oliver has welcomed everyone who has visited Kechi. This building, with its grand stairway and two massive pillars, is a focal point for the city.
“If the building comes down, the lot really isn't big enough due to modern codes to build anything — the only real use would be a parking lot.” said Maynard.
You can help the Kechi Playhouse by supporting their crowdsourcing campaign, "Save the Kechi Playhouse", on YouCaring.com. This campaign will only run through the month of June and has a goal of just under $84,000.