The Liberty Theatre Rehabilitation Project
THE LIBERTY THEATRE REHABILITATION PROJECT
On July 13th, the Urban Renewal Agency approved a request to provide a $75,000 loan to La Grande Main Street for the acquisition of the old Liberty Theatre located in downtown La Grande. The request and subsequent approval also includes the opportunity to collect another $75,000 loan from the Agency upon completing a series of benchmarks.
La Grande Main Street, a 501(c)3 non-profit, has been working for the past eighteen months to acquire the building for renovation. Once the building is officially procured by La Grande Main Street, the organization will be eligible to apply for grant funding. With the current building appraisal at $162,800 initial fund-raising will be required by La Grande Main Street to finalize the building acquisition from current owner Howard Butts.
Opened in 1910, under the name the Orpheum Theatre, it would later become the Arcade in 1911 before finally assuming the name Liberty Theatre in 1930. The Theatre was closed in 1959 and remodeled to accommodate retail business. Despite the retail space created on the ground floor, the theatre itself, including the stage, balcony, projection room, and chandelier remain untouched today.
Within La Grande Main Street, the Liberty Theatre Division will be responsible for the completion of the project. Completing the project within a 5-7 year time limit, as well as meeting other required benchmarks will result in the $150,000 URA loan to be converted to a grant, requiring no repayment from La Grande Main Street.
The organization plans to return the building to its 1930’s grandeur whereas the performance hall will be used for concerts, live performances, and movie viewings…to name just a few.
As grants continue to be secured, design consultants, with the help of historic photos and first-hand citizen accounts, will begin the work of recreating the theatre.
This is La Grande Main Street’s first empty building renovation project. The end results promise to be a boost to the downtown economy, as well as an asset to the community at large.