The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded the City of Fairbury with $225,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in the Tourism Development category to renovate the Bonham Theatre.
In turn, the City will award the funding to the Bonham Theatre Project (BTP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that has secured financial support and contributions from foundations, businesses, and local individuals.
Additional funding of $553,834 from BTP, including challenge grant awards from the Peter Kiewit Foundation and The Sherwood Foundation, and pledges supported by state tax credits awarded through DED’s Community Development Assistance Act, will complete the project.
Renovations will include removal of materials and architectural barriers that restrict mobility of and accessibility by elderly and persons with disabilities. Additional renovations will include the installation of ramps and handicap viewing platforms, easier access to the lobby, fire protection measures, plumbing, restrooms and electrical work.
The refurbishment and reopening of the Bonham Theatre is expected to attract regional audiences from southeast Nebraska and northern Kansas for quality activities, including movies, theater productions, art showings and educational workshops. Additionally BTP is expected to help anchor Fairbury’s historic and social appeal as it is surrounded by lodging properties, and dining and shopping venues, all within walking distance.
The theatre operated for 86 years from the day its doors opened in 1926 until it was shuttered at the end of 2012. For many years it lived up to its name “the Showcase of Southeast Nebraska.” However, when faced with the high costs of transitioning to digital projection in 2012, the owners made the difficult decision to close the theatre. Soon after, Fairbury citizens organized and formed BTP.
Federal funds are made available to DED from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s CDBG program to assist with the development of businesses and communities throughout the state. Funding requests for the program are administered by DED and available to local governments with populations less than 50,000 and counties in Nebraska.
For information about the Fairbury project, contact Sharyl Preston, City Clerk, at 402-729-3906 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about CDBG Tourism Development funding, contact Steve Charleston at 800-426-6505, 402-471-3757, or email@example.com.