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Historic Col Ballroom set to close next month

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- A building that has stood the test of time for over a hundred years will soon be closing its doors.

Leigh Macias Reitz, owner of the Col Ballroom in Davenport, says she can't keep up with expenses.

"The taxes were so much," she says. "I had hoped that there was help out there that would want to preserve this building. But I haven't found it."

Macias Reitz remembers going to the Col Ballroom as a teenager in the 60s.

"There were dances every weekend," she says. "This is where everybody went. You had to wear a skirt and a sweater. The guys had to wear dress pants and dress shirts or you just didn't get in here."

Besides entertaining Quad Cities teens for decades, the ballroom also hosted some big names, from Louie Armstrong and Duke Ellington to Johny Cash and Jimi Hendrix.

"There's so much nostalgia here," Macias Reitz says. "I was happy when I came here, and I know that so many people were here and performed. Why demolish that?"

Macias Reitz bought the Col Ballroom in 2015 when the Quad Cities Mexican American Organization was selling it.

Now, she says it costs too much to book acts and too few people buy tickets. She says she can't bring in enough money to cover heating costs this winter and preserve the 104-year-old building. That's why she's closing the doors after its last event next month.

"We'll see," she says. "We're going to close and if somebody comes and knocks on my door and says, 'Leigh, let's do this,' and it sounds good to me, then we'll do it."

Macias Reitz says she's interested keeping the ballroom open if an investor wants to help. Or she's open to selling it to someone who wants to keep it as an entertainment venue. The last thing she wants is to see it turned into a warehouse or a parking lot.

The Col Ballroom's last event is on Oct. 26, 2018. Four local soul groups will be performing together for SoulFest 2018.