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.

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