GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Monday night, Girard City Council decided to take a big step toward redeveloping the downtown area. Members voted to buy the Wellman Theatre.

The Wellman is located on West Liberty Street in Girard. It was built in the 1930s and is today used by a church.

The vote to buy the theater was 6 to 1.

It’ll cost the city $72,900.

Mayor Jim Melfi says the city will now apply for an Appalachian Community Grant and hire an architectural firm to determine renovations.

Melfi would like to see it become a smaller version of Warren’s Robins Theatre.

This has been something the city has discussed for most of this year. In late February, Melfi asked council for money to buy the Wellman Theatre.

Mayor Melfi said that Girard City Schools was looking for a performing arts center and asked the district to partner with them. In March, the school district went on the record saying it will not partner with the city for this restoration project.

The district said it was not a practical option to support the educational needs of Girard City Schools.

Last week, the former theater was inspected. Melfi says the Wellman “passed with flying colors.”