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Morning Sun
  • City OKs grant for Colonial Fox

  • The Pittsburg City Commission Tuesday night approved a $45,000 block grant for the Colonial Fox Theater Foundation to commence work on phase five of the theater’s ongoing restoration project.

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  • The Pittsburg City Commission Tuesday night approved a $45,000 block grant for the Colonial Fox Theater Foundation to commence work on phase five of the theater’s ongoing restoration project.
    The money comes in the form of community development block grant, which is federal money distributed by the state for economic development. The foundation will be able to acquire matching money throught the National Parks Service Save America’s Treasures fund. Typically, federal money cannot be used to get matching federal money, but an exception is made for money that is going toward historic preservation, foundation executive director Vonnie Corsini told the commission.
    Initially, Corsini had asked the city’s economic development advisory committee to recommend the city authorize $250,000, which SATF would match — it has guaranteed $500,000 in matching grant money, provided the foundation can prove it will be able to raise its share of money — projecting that the theater will bring in at least $1 million in capital improvement over the next year. The committee decided against the recommendation, but did choose to recommend the block grant.
    “Because it’s used for historic preservation, we can use it as a match to go toward the Save America’s Treasures Grant,” Corsini said.
    Phase five of the project includes facade improvements such as new doors, improvement to the ticket booth, renovation of the historic tiles in the entrance area, demolition of the old HVAC equipment, installing electrical outlets, and adding emergency exits and lights. When the phase is finished, the foundation will be able to apply for an occupancy permit. Corsini said bids for the work closed Tuesday, and the foundation’s construction oversight team will review the bids today.
    “We’re finally going to do something that’s aesthetic, what we like to call the pretty part,” Corsini said. “We’re finally getting to the point where people will be able to see some improvement.”
    Corsini said this is a significant step in the renovation project.
    ‘There aren’t a lot of communities that receive money from the National Parks Service to restore a local treasure, and that’s very very special,” Corsini said. “Our foundation and the members that have supported us over the years have been apparent to the National Parks Service. They’ve seen how important this is to the community.”
    Commissioner Marty Beezley said she was impressed with Corsini’s work.
    “I’ve got to tell you, I admire your tenacity,” Beezley said. “I have no doubt that money will be well-spent.”
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