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Rochester Civic Theatre Board reacts to RCC lease end notice

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX47) -- On Wednesday, the Rochester City Council voted 6 to 1 to send a notice to the Rochester Civic Theatre about terminating their lease agreement.

The theater community is confused and upset following the city council meeting.

Jeff Haynes, the Civic Theatre Board President said the city's decision surprised him.

"The decision was obviously not optimal for us. We were hoping to retain our lease. Hearing that they were going to be sending a letter of termination, was a shock to me," Haynes said.

The city says the theater violated its lease on several counts.

"For example, the funding that we gave for the Rochester Civic Theatre in 2019 was supposed to pay for building operations and maintenance, and we know they weren't paying the utility bills with the money that was given to them for that purpose. So we know that that's been going on," said city council member Michael Wojcik.

Before Wednesday's council meeting, the theater board created an online petition that specifically mentions council member Wojcik. The petition said the councilman wanted the theater control to be in the city's hand.

"The petition was targeted at me and contains entirely incorrect information, and it seems to be more of a political stunt than it is a petition. But actually, all of the items in the petition that I'm accused of doing were actually by the city of Rochester and the entire team that I'm a part of," Wojcik said.

"All we want to do is demonstrate the support that we have for the theater, and that was the only intent for the petition," Haynes said.

And moving forward Haynes said the board will do its best run things smoothly.

"We are determined to meet with the city to discuss what they consider to be the violations of the existing lease. We are still working to maintain the theater," he said.

Haynes said the board will have 30 days to comply with the lease termination once it's received.

He'd still like the community to attend future Civic Theatre shows.

KaMaria Braye

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