Heartbeat of downtown
Kelsey Renz | reporter
As the historic Colonial Fox Theatre continues to undergo restoration to return to its original 1920s glory, the Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation continues to need help to raise the funds required to complete Block 5, or the small projects being worked on now.
“While our ultimate goal is still a long way from being realized, the short-term block projects are able to be completed as soon as we can raise the needed funds,” said Sarah Jensen, public relations and marketing director.
The restoration in this block – part 5 of an unknown number of parts – includes finishing the work on the historic ticket booth, a historic façade of the building and installing new electrical wiring.
“One way members of the community can help is through joining the foundation’s membership program,” Jensen said. “Members can pledge a small or large, monthly or yearly amount to help create something that will benefit them and future generations.”
Pittsburg residents have so far raised $60,000 for the project, in addition to a $90,000 grant from the state, all of which has been matched by the Save America’s Treasures Grant.
“The people who contribute time and money to this effort understand that we need to have markers from the past and really want us to succeed,” said Vonnie Corsini, executive director.
The Save America’s Treasures Grant originally wanted the project completed and all the money in the account matched within two years of awarding the grant. At the end of those two years, the Grant awarded the foundation an extension of one year.
“After we turned in the six-month progress report in February, we were given another extension of the grant money through December 2014,” Corsini said.
Out of the $500,000 that the foundation was awarded by the Save America’s Treasures Grant, between $300,000 and $350,000 remains in the account in the National Park Service budget.
“We still have a significant amount left in the account available to match,” Corsini said. “However, the grant money is not given to us until a project is complete and the bills need to be paid.”
The majority of the funding for the restoration project comes from grants. Most of the fundraising efforts center on applying for grants and letting the public know the progress of the restoration.
“We just share the vision, share the dream, and let people know our need and ask for help,” Corsini said. “The way to fund-raise is just to ask.”
The foundation sent out 3,000 letters to the community explaining why the project is important to Pittsburg.
“The community caring will help us finish the project,” Jensen said. “We need and have the love and support of the community.”
The foundation hopes to double the amount it was receiving annually from the community.
“We need that right now so we can begin to utilize the theater and make it useful to the community,” Corsini said.