Toledo Civic Auditorium returns with rockin' welcome

Reported by Tanieya Lewis -

Posted by Nick Dutton - email

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTOL) - A downtown theatre is hoping to make a come-back. The Toledo Civic Theatre used to be called the Toledo Civic Auditorium. Well, shrinking crowds eventually put it out of business. But, Saturday night's turnout shows to believe in second chances.

A noisy neighbor has returned to the Erie Street Market and no one seems to mind. In fact the newly renovated Civic Theatre got a rockin' welcome home.

"It seems like it'll be cool, like it'll bring a lot of people down here," says fan Carolyn Jan.

"The stage looks really good. And there's a really big space so the sound guy can have his protection over his equipment for the show," says Mitch Richter.

The fans filed in at least two hours before the Black Keys hit the stage.

"We decided to come over here, because we heard about the grand opening. So we're seeing how nice this venue would be," Richter.

And this is something the market's manager has been wanting to see again. A sort of rebirth of the Civic Auditorium that Connie Hoffmann, Erie Street Market manager, once knew.

"Elvis played here. Joe Louis boxed here. It had quite a history. This whole building is very historical."

Decades later, the theatre promises to bring the party back.

"What we're going to do is bring in big name national acts, bands, country acts. We're going to do Mixed martial arts events. And the Roller Girls were talking about coming in and doing their exhibitions here," says promoter Jonathan Anderson.

Of course Saturday's spotlight on the new theatre didn't come without some controversy. As questions were recently raised about funding for the renovations.

"We are definitely going to pay that back. We are not using tax payer money," says Hoffman.

So Hoffman says the party will go on.