(Westwood) -- The $2 million dollar renovation of a former Bell Telephone Exchange building will create a new home for the Madcap Puppet Theater, but could also spark a renaissance in Westwood.
The building was given to the Madcap Theater in 2012, and they hope to have it renovated and in use as their new home by 2015. Artistic Director John Lewandowski says they'll have a 200-seat theater, and space for workshops, along with displays of their puppet collection. He says it will be a destination for 30,000 to 40,000 people a year.
And, Lewandowski says it should trigger redevelopment in the neighborhood. He says he's talked to business owners who are considering relocating or expanding to Westwood Square because of the Madcap's move.
Mayor John Cranley says this is just the first step to revitalize the community and part of a bigger effort to repopulate the city. He says the arts can be the spark that revitalizes neighborhoods, like it has in the Incline District and Over-the-Rhine. The Mayor is pushing for the City to kick in $500,000 toward the project.
Lewandowski says without the City's grant, they've already raised about 35% of their goal.