With the recent opening of the Checkerboard Lounge and news of soon-to-come fine-dining establishments, the idea of a revitalized Hyde Park has been a topic on University and community members tongues. It is then with the sadness that comes with a missed chance, that the Maroon reports the Universitys decision to abandon its search for a new operator of the defunct Meridian Theater.
Perhaps this was inevitable. With 37 potential operators but no success, the University cannot be blamed for lack of trying. It also cannot be blamed for the administrations unwillingness to spend vast sums on a venture that, like many other small neighborhood theatersincluding the original Meridian itselfis perhaps destined to fail.
It is truly a shame that a venerable cultural institution has been lost to the past and that movie-lovers in Hyde Park will still need to hop on a bus downtown to catch the latest big-screen releases. This keeps business away from a neighborhood that both needs and deserves it. But theres still Doc, and now the Checkerboard, among many other sources, for nearby entertainment. And Harper Court cant be beaten in Hyde Park for food, socializing, and shopping: from the open farmers market in the summer to the coziness of art shops and nearby coffee shops in winter. Perhaps the façade of the theater can even be saved and complement the spaces future use while maintaining the sites historical presence.
We only suggest that the University bear in mind the former Meridian sites potential for further community revitalization. As a movie theater, it benefited University and community members alike. Whatever the site becomes, the Maroon hopes that it is equally welcoming.