AURORA | The company that owns and operates the theater where a gunman killed 12 people and injured 58 others says it will reopen the venue.
A letter obtained by The Associated Press Friday from Cinemark President and CEO Tim Warner to the city says the theater will be re-configured and ready to reopen by the beginning of 2013.
Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan in a letter asked Cinemark to refurbish and reopen the theater based on request from victims and victim’s advocates. Hogan asked that special provisions be made for a victim and survivor visitation, memorials, and a change to the outside appearance of the building.
Details of the changes were not immediately available.
Some have called for the theater to be knocked down rather than reopened.
Mike White, Sr. was in theater No. 9 the night of the shootings with several of his family members. His son, Mike White, Jr., was shot, as was his son’s girlfriend. Both survived.
White said Friday he was disappointed to hear the theater would be reopened.
“I would like to see it knocked down,” he said.
White lives just a few blocks from the theater and said just seeing it brings back memories of the shootings.
“Every time I see it, every time I pass by it, I remember,” White said.
Still, he said, seeing the theater is even harder on some of his family, who insist on avoiding that stretch of South Sable Boulevard so they don’t have to see it.
“I have some that can’t even go that way,” he said.
Aurora City Councilwoman Marsha Berzins, whose ward includes the theater, said about 70 percent of people surveyed by the city wanted to see the theater reopened, as long as it was refurbished.
Berzins previously said she would like to see the theater razed, but said Friday she was glad to see it will be substantially remodeled and refurbished.
“They are doing what a large majority of the citizens of Aurora want to see happen,” she said.
No matter how extensive the remodel is, Berzins said people won’t forget what happened at the theater, but changing the look of it will help.
“I think it will help an awful lot,” she said. “The memories will never go away, we will always remember what happened, but as time goes on, I think the changes will be beneficial.”
Aurora Sentinel reporter Brandon Johansson contributed to this report.