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Friends still have hope for theater plans



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June 04, 2013 | 04:26 PM
Friends of Geneva Theater plan to meet with the new owners of the Geneva Theater to talk about the venerable building's future.

Ken Etten, who chairs the Friends group, said the meeting will be in his Lake Geneva office on Friday, June 7.

"We understand that he (William Jachimek) bought the building as an investment," Etten said in a recent interview. He said the Friends want to show the Jachimeks the tenants and renters of the proposed cultural center would bring in.

He said the Friends also want to encourage the new owners to renovate the old building.

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William and Kathy Jachimek of Phoenix, bought the 85-year-old Geneva Theater on April 1 for $670,000, according to the deed recorded with Walworth County.

William Jachimek also told the Regional News that the family has since bought a second home in the Lake Geneva area.

Etten said he's been talking with a friend of the family who lives in the area and is acting as agent for the Jachimeks.

Kathy Jachimek said she grew up on Cook's Cranberry Hill Farm in the town of Lyons on Cranberry Road.

She said her home was just four miles from the Playboy Club, now the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa.

Jachimek said that, when she was a girl, she and her friends went to the Geneva Theater for free matinees of such movies as "Godzilla" and "King Kong."

She said the theater would regularly have free matinees for the kids on days there was no school, and probably made a fortune in popcorn and soda sales, she added.

"We have a fondness for old buildings and, like most people, we feel this building is special, William Jachimek said in an April email to the Regional News.

He said he hoped that he bought the building in time to save it from further damage, and mentioned that a new roof is the first thing on the list of repairs.

Jachimek wrote that initial plans were to turn the building into retail space or an antique mall.

However, when the Jachimeks looked the old building over, they became committed to keeping it as an entertainment venue, possibly a dinner theater comparable to the Fireside in Fort Atkinson.

"We also would welcome ideas from the community," Jachimek wrote. "For us, it's still an investment so in the long run it will have to be a money-making venture."

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