Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Our December 2004 Brochure Is Now Available

Our December 2004 Newsletter is now available online. A PDF version is also available.

Monday, December 6, 2004

Justin Swims for the Lights

From The Sault Evening News, December 6, 2004:

SAULT STE. MARIE - Local attorney Dyke Justin, 51, in answer to a challenge by the local Rotary Club, swam 30 miles at the Norris Center pool this past weekend in 23 hours, 43 minutes. In a fund-raising effort for the Soo Theater project, the local Sault Rotary Club secured pledges to see Justin do his record-breaking swim. Final numbers on the pledges are still coming in, but the Rotary estimates it to be nearly $5,000.

Justin entered the pool at noon on Friday, and climbed out at 11:43 a.m. on Saturday - a full 17 minutes short of 24 hours. During the swim, he never touched the bottom or got out of the pool. Rotarians were on hand the whole time as official lap counters, and Justin's family stayed with him for encouragement.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Organ Donations (Pipe Organs, That Is)

Thanks to two generous people, Soo Theatre Project is now the proud owner of two theatre pipe organs. And thanks to John Ignatowski for locating them, and organizing the “moving parties” of volunteers to get them here.

Donated to STP by John Neyrinck is a W. W. Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ, built in 1924 for the Lyric Theatre in Blue Island, Illinois. And thanks to John Rinn for donating a Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, built in 1916 for the Stratford Theatre in Detroit.

Each instrument will be installed in its own organ loft in the Soo Theatre and will be playable together as one instrument, but will remain playable separately as well. Soo Theatre will definitely be unique with two theatre pipe organs.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Soo Theatre Interior and Restoration Photos

Check our website for some photos of the inside of the Soo Theatre and the ongoing restoration effort.

If you would like more information about the Soo Theatre Project or would like to find out how you can help, please email us.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Soo Theatre Project Gets Cool Cities Grant

From The Sault Evening News, 08/11/04

Soo Theatre Project gets 'Cool' cash

SAULT STE. MARIE -- Supporters of the Soo Theatre Project gathered to witness the presentation of a $100,000 Cool City Pilot Program check to the organization's president, Dianna George, by Rick Ballard and Jim Davis, both from Michigan's State Housing Development Authority on Friday, according to a news release.

The grant will enable the Soo Theatre Project to renovate two storefronts to create the Soo Theatre School of the Arts, install accessible restrooms for the Soo Theatre Complex, and open a cafe adjoining the theatre as a limited menu eatery. The cafe will later become the concession for the theatre. Plans for the money also include updating the heating, plumbing, and electric utilities on the building's street level.

Upon opening the Soo Theatre, which will be operated with funds obtained from room use fees, income from the cafe, and rent income from a fourth storefront, organizers hope the Theatre project will help energize that block of Ashmun Street and help with the revitalization of downtown Sault Ste. Marie, according to the release.

In the spring of 2005, preparations will begin for the demolition of the block wall that has divided the theatre since the 1970s. A fund-raising campaign, titled "The Curtain Can't Go Up Until the Wall Comes Down," is under way to raise matching monies required by the Cool City Pilot Program grant.

A $25 donation gets a donor's name listed on a storefront wall and later in the theatre lobby. For information about the campaign or the Soo Theatre Project, a newsletter is available at most downtown businesses in Sault Ste. Marie. Donations to the project can be sent to P.O. Box 1435, Sault Ste. Marie, 49783.

Friday, August 6, 2004

Soo Theatre Project To Receive Cool Cities Grant

From The Sault Evening News, 08/06/04

Soo Theatre Project to receive Cool Cities grant check today

LANSING -- Officials from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) joined state and local leaders Thursday to present a $100,000 grant to the Soo Theatre Project, Inc. as part of the state's Cool Cities pilot program, according to a state news release. At 2 p.m. today, the Soo Theatre project will formally receive its grant check in front of the theatre building on Ashmun St.

The Sault's redevelopment project is one of 20 recently chosen to receive funding. The program, designed to foster the development of vibrant, attractive cities and urban centers, is part of Governor Jennifer Granholm's overall economic development strategy for Michigan.

"Our state's greatest economic successes have often gone hand-in-hand with the creative and productive powers of our cities," Granholm said in the release. "Although government cannot create cool, these grants will bolster local efforts to create more inviting downtown centers that will attract investment and job creation."

The Soo Theatre Project proposes to restore and renovate the classic and historic Soo Theatre Complex to its original grandeur of the 1930s.

"The Soo Theatre Cool Cities project will promote economic growth and development in the downtown by providing increased retail growth and residential housing," said Downtown Development Director Lee Shirey. "The Soo Theatre Project will provide a home for the arts and cultural community in downtown and will be a catalyst for additional investment in the downtown."

Over 150 project applications from 112 Michigan cities were submitted for this pilot program.

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Ready For Revitalization Of The Soo Theatre

From The Sault Evening News, 06/03/04

Ready for revitalization

By SCOTT BRAND/The Evening News

SAULT STE. MARIE -- With Governor Jennifer Granholm's announcement of funding for 20 Cool Cities pilot projects on Wednesday, the City of Sault Ste. Marie learned it has qualified for $100,000 in cold, hard cash. The money has been earmarked for renovation and revitalization of the Soo Theatre.

"The communities that won were the ones that maximized the attributes we spelled out," said Director David Hollister of the Department of Labor and Economic Growth in a telephone interview Wednesday regarding the long odds faced as 112 cities applied for 151 various grants. "The Sault had a great proposal."

Hollister expressed the belief that renovation of this historical building will stimulate other development in Sault Ste. Marie.

Director Lee Shirey of the Downtown Development Authority said he was very pleased with the governor's announcement. The $100,000 catalyst grant will not only provide immediate help for the theatre, but will allow the Sault to tap into a much larger pool of money for similar projects throughout the state.

"This now opens the door to $100 million in funding for cool cities," said Shirey.

The initial $100,000, according to the governor's announcement, will go toward updatating and renovating the classic and historic Soo Theatre Complex to its original grandeur of the 1930s. Shirey explained that will basically involve improvements on the retail fronts, heating, plumbing and electrical upgrades and the development of barrier-free restrooms.

Shirey envisioned the theatre becoming an arts and cultural complex catering to dance, arts and music training.

"That's great," said Mayor Anthony Bosbous in a happenstance meeting early this morning. "It's a good start."

"Building vibrant, energetic cities is essential to attracting jobs, people and opportunity to our state," said Granholm. "If Michigan is to be competitive in the 21st century economy, we have to attract new businesses and retain the highly educated, talented young people who are crucial to building and sustaining businesses in today's global marketplace. I'm thrilled about the potential of these projects and the positive impact they will have on their communities and the economic vitality of our state."

Sault Ste. Marie was one of only two Upper Peninsula cities to receive funds under this grant. Marquette received similar funding for a commons project designed to bring a refrigerated ice plaza, skating rink, warming house, non-motorized trail and fountain into its community. Other grant recipients include Alpena, Bay City, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Port Huron, Portland, Saginaw, Saugatuck, Traverse City, Warren and Ypsilanti.

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