Using Facebook to ‘dislike’ theater decision

Monroe residents use social media to spread their views about the town’s auction purchase of movie theater

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— Many town residents are fuming about the Town of Monroe’s $880,000 winning bid to buy the Monroe Cinema 6 movie theater and they’re using social networking to spread their displeasure.

On Tuesday morning, the “Save the Monroe Movie Theater” Facebook page sought to get 400 “likes” in one day to show town officials that they think the move was a bad one.

“The Town Board of Monroe has an option to back out of this purchase,” the page’s administrator wrote on Tuesday. “We need to keep the pressure on. Don’t give up.”

The posting continued on to offer the names and telephone numbers of town board officials, encouraging Facebookers to call and voice their anger.

Save Monroe

“The public has spoken, and did they ever,” wrote the page’s administrator. “There was an amazing presence tonight (Monday) at the meeting. Lots of passion, lots of heart, and lots of great questions were asked. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any answers …. we can let the Town of Monroe know that they made a bad decision in buying the theater to turn it into a courthouse. This town needs a movie theater. We need to encourage business downtown. We need art and culture. Click like and share with your friends.”

People also left postings on another existing page called “Save Monroe” beginning on Monday after public sentiment against the town’s decision grew.

Word spread on that page about a special town board meeting held Monday night which was intended to address the auction purchase.

Economic, entertainment losses

Village of Monroe Mayor James Purcell wrote on that page that the town made the decision to bid on the property without consulting him or the village board, adding the purchase was not just an economic loss for the village, but an entertainment loss for the greater Monroe community.

“There was no public input at all and no communication between the village and the town to see how the village would feel about the purchase,” wrote Purcell. “There are so many issues that pertain to the purchase of the movie theater. Cost of renovations, removal of the property from the tax rolls, the sales tax lost from the theater and the sales tax loss from the surrounding businesses that benefited from the theater bring people into the downtown.’

In his posting, he wrote the town board does not have a cost estimate to even do renovations.

“How can you purchase a property and not have all those cost in place?” wrote Purcell. “Talk about no planning and putting the cart before the horse. Don’t forget that this will be a cost to all the taxpayers. If they had a plan to show all the issues above and how they are going to be addressed, we might be able to understand this situation better. This was a sad day for Monroe by losing the theater.”

By 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Facebook page - created on Nov. 18 - had its 444th "like" with more people adding "like" to their personal statues hourly.

By Nancy Kriz

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