Rock Rapids, Iowa — The National Trust for Historic Preservation has declared May as National Historic Preservation Month.

One group working to restore a historic building is the Rapids Theatre Preservation Society in Rock Rapids. The group’s Matt Dengler gives us an update.


Dengler says it’s exciting to see how far the project has come since they started nine years ago. Instead of looking like a neglected old building on the outside, the storefront has been improved with large windows, the original art-deco doors, and more. But the interior still needs lots of work.

He says right now the interior work consists of planning and bare-bones work. They’re trying to decide how the new electrical wiring and utilities need to go in.

Dengler says the major issues that they came up against years ago are part of their planning now — and that is what to do about meeting code for enough restrooms and exits for the third-floor ballroom and what to do to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Dengler says some of their plans have had to change, or at least be put on the back burner for now. At one point they hoped to have a coffee shop on the second floor with a street-side balcony overlooking the marquee. However, he says they have to keep all their options open at this point, because they don’t know what will be required to get the facility up to code.

If you’d like to get involved or donate, he says you can contact the Rapids Theatre Preservation Society on Facebook or call Jackie Telford at 712-472-2434. They’ll also be selling popcorn and root beer on Saturday, June 15th, during Rock Rapids’ Heritage Days Celebration.

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