Pine Bluff Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. promised Wednesday afternoon that he'll be there when "the curtain goes up again" at the Saenger Theater. But before the historic theatre can once more stage a show, a repaired roof must go on so that other required improvements can be made.

Pine Bluff Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. promised Wednesday afternoon that he’ll be there when “the curtain goes up again” at the Saenger Theater. But before the historic theatre can once more stage a show, a repaired roof must go on so that other required improvements can be made.

Redus, joined by local state legislators and Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District officials in his office, accepted a $16,000 SEADD grant that will initiate roof repairs at the Saenger, located off Main Street on West Second Avenue.

The theatre, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995, opened in 1924. It hosted numerous memorable live performances and motion pictures before closing in 1975.

The city recently acquired ownership of the structure in an agreement with the Old Towne Centre Theatres Inc. group that had been seeking to preserve and restore the theatre.

SEADD Deputy Director David Dempsey said the grant represented state general improvement funds that had been appropriated to SEADD by the state legislature. He said the city’s request for the roof monies was approved last month.

“On behalf of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County, I appreciate our legislators stepping up to provide needed assistance and understanding what the Saenger means not only to this city, but to all of Southeast Arkansas,” said Redus.

“The SEADD funds help to ensure that our youth will be able to enjoy historic sites like the Saenger. This grant is helping us to build for our future by helping to preserve our past,” he said.

Also participating in the grant presentation were state Reps. Toni Bradford, Henry Wilkins IV, Efrem Elliott and James Word, and SEADD Board Chairman and Star City Mayor Gene Yarbrough.