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|Orpheum Asking City Council for Financial Assistance
|UPDATED 1:30 p-m 7/28/09 The Orpheum Theater has a boiler that's been condemned and an ineffective air conditioning system, prompting the facility's director to turn to the Galesburg City Council for help.
Aldermen, Mayor Sal Garza and City Manager Dane Bragg met Monday night with the Orpheum's Kate Francis on the theater stage. Francis is asking the city to consider what she calls a $100,000 capital request. She's applied for a $500,000 "Save America's Treasures" grant, which requires dollar-for-dollar matching. The money would be used for things like a new HVAC system, repairing water damage, restoring the facade and other upkeep that's been neglected in the past.
The most immediate problem is the boiler, which Francis says dates back to the 1950s and the state fire marshal's office condemned in April. Bids sought previously to replace the boiler ranged from $62,000 to $162,000. No formal bids were done on the air conditioning system.
Francis says her request from the city represents 10 percent of the entire project.
"Having seen the magnitude of the need of the theater from a capital standpoint. We're not sure what other avenues we might have, so if we're unsuccessful in this grant application I would fear that the burden to the city might be greater if we don't make the committment now to this grant."
Francis says she also met recently with a few members of the Knox County Board, which is being asked for $50,000. Other entities and private donors will also be solicited.
Alderman Wayne Allen remarked that the city had already given the Orpheum Theater more than $600,000 in the past six years through the hotel/motel tax. Francis says the economic impact of the Civic Center Authority's activities is approximately $1-million a year, or a 10 to 1 return on investment.
The money, if approved, could possibly come out of the city's TIF 1 fund. The council didn't decide when to vote on the request.
The boiler in the Orpheum Theater, which dates back to the 1950s, has been a problem. Theater Managing Director Kate Francis gave the city council and the media a tour of the issues in the facility that the Knox County Civic Center Authority Board wants to fix through a $500,000 federal grant.
A hallway on the upper level of the theater that's being repaired after it sustained several thousands of dollars in damage when pipe burst during the winter.
City officials and the media stop in the Orpheum Theater lobby during the tour
(WGIL News Story and Photos by Mike Perry)
|07 27 09 by Newsroom
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