JOLIET – Members of the local business community have formed a group aimed at supporting the Rialto Square Theatre.
James Roolf, president of First Midwest Bank’s Joliet Banking Center, announced at last week’s meeting of the Rialto board what he called a sort of ad hoc committee.
Roolf was applauded by board members and other people at the meeting after he talked about the group’s purpose and the value of the Rialto.
“I would suggest to you that we’re in the trenches with you,” he told the board. “If we criticize you, it will be constructive, not destructive.”
The Rialto board has received a lot of criticism for more than a year during a controversy over a new marquee that was abandoned and amid more recent cash-flow problems leading to the departure of general manager Randy Green.
But Roolf said recent 90th anniversary events at the theater were a reminder of the value the Rialto has to Joliet.
“The friction that may or may not exist among us needs to go away,” he said.
“We need to make sure the theater operates as it has historically.”
Roolf mentioned local car dealer Terry D’Arcy as one of the members of the group.
Interviewed after the meeting, he said the group has about a dozen members now but is likely to grow.
“We’re trying to understand the complexity of this operation,” he said. “This is not an easy entity to operate. Sources of revenue come from a lot of places.
“We need to find where those are and support them.”
Roolf said the group would advise the Rialto board and also help sponsor events at the theater.
Rialto management appeared to welcome the offer.
“I’ve known Jim Roolf for over 20 years, and I really appreciate his comments,” interim general manager Jack Ericksen said.
Ericksen noted that First Midwest Bank and D’Arcy were among the several local businesses that sponsored the anniversary events at the theater.