Since Auburn’s Schine theater first opened in 1939, it’s been home to countless live performances and movies. 

“I know a lot of people in Auburn would like to see it back to what it was originally because we had a lot of good memories there,” said Ed Onori, the chair of the Cayuga County Arts Council. 

The Schine received a “repair or demolish” letter from the city of Auburn in May. It’s been in poor condition for much of the past 20 years. 

The last major renovation happened in 1999 when the roof of the theater was replaced. Then, asbestos was discovered in the walls which shut the building down for good. 

“It’s a shame to see it in disrepair,” Onori said. “I would really like to see it for the future for our kids and for some of our senior community that have put a lot of time and money invested here.”

$12 million would be needed to fully restore the theater, which the arts council hopes to get from grants and donations. $800,000 could come soon if Auburn’s city council approves the money for the Schine’s asbestos removal. 

“When you lose history like this, you’re losing a part of downtown Auburn,” Onori said. “We’re in the middle of the historic district here and keeping these buildings alive for the future would be great for everybody in Auburn.”

The Auburn City Council will vote on the $800,000 for the asbestos removal project on Thursday, June 1st.