Letter from Supporter Jim Chatelain

BTP Supporter Jim Chatelain sent a wonderful note with his latest donation.Jim-Chatelain


Dear Mrs. Ebke,

Enclosed is my current donation toward the support of the Bonham Theatre Project.

Looking back, I recall with pleasure the countless hours of “enjoyable escape” spent at the Bonham.

In my youth, Saturday was THE day. Starting at 2 p.m. – the local ads, newsreel, previews of coming attractions, serial chapter, mystery feature, western action – the day was “made”, all for the admission of LESS than 15 cents!

May I extend to you, then, my heartfelt best wishes toward the successful restoration of ‘my old friend, the Bonham Theatre.’

Very Sincerely,
Jim Chatelain”Jim Chatelain Letter

First National Bank Donates $10,000 to Bonham Theatre Project

First National Bank Donates to BonhamNeighbors helping neighbors definitely describes the continued generosity of The First National Bank-Fairbury and the Pfaff family with their recent $10,000 contribution to the Bonham Theatre Project. As supporters of the Bonham Theatre Project from its inception, this $10,000 donation completes the $50,000 matching grant from The Sherwood Foundation, which was offered to BTP in April 2014.

Their initial $1,000 contribution aided BTP in formally organizing as a nonprofit corporation. Additional contributions totally $15,000 assisted in the acquisition of the building and contents. “The real effort is not in providing the financial support, but in the people who come together in turning a vision into reality,” said Tiffany Pfaff.

The Pfaff/Burkley connection to the Bonham Theatre goes back to its establishment. Barbara (Burkley) Pfaff is the great-niece to Luther Bonham, the namesake of the Bonham Theatre and in 1913 co-owner of the newly consolidated First National Bank of Fairbury. In 1926 Luther Bonham, as President of FNB, put together financing to construct the Bonham Theatre in conjunction with local investors and Universal Production Company.

Revitalizing Fairbury with a theatre is both a business and personal interest to the Pfaffs. “The continued existence of Fairbury and its residents has been the main priority to us through every generation of our family,” said Vernon Pfaff. “This is something that we also strive in helping our surrounding communities as well.”
“We are extremely grateful for the financial support of Vern and Barb, (daughter) Tiffany, The Burkley Family Fund, and The First National Bank,” said Brooke Schwab, president. “In a small town, we have to depend on each other because our futures are interconnected. It is reassuring to know the Pfaffs share this vision.”

$225,000 awarded for Bonham Theatre Project in Fairbury

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 spreston@fairburyne.org

For information about CDBG Tourism Development funding, contact Steve Charleston at 800-426-6505, 402-471-3757, or steve.charleston@nebraska.gov.

Union Bank & Trust Donates $10,000 to Bonham Theatre Project

ubt-donationUnion Bank & Trust donated $10,000 to assist the revitalization efforts of the historic Bonham Theatre.  The funds, which will be disbursed over a 2 year period, will help the non-profit group reach their fundraising milestone to begin renovations.

“Fairbury has a rich history, and the Bonham Theatre is a key part of that” said Jen Walton, Branch Manager.  “With the support of the entire community, the Theatre can once again be an active part of Fairbury’s downtown area.”

Debby Ebke, Treasurer of the Bonham Theatre Project, stated, “We’re very encouraged by the support of Union Bank & Trust, and all of our area businesses.  By coming together, we are truly a stronger community.”

Union Bank & Trust Company is a privately owned, Nebraska bank that offers complete banking, lending, investment and trust services. The bank has thirty-six full service and loan production offices in Nebraska and Kansas. In addition to Fairbury and Lincoln, branches are located in nineteen Nebraska communities and the Kansas City metro area. It is the third largest privately-owned bank in Nebraska with bank assets of $2.8 billion and trust assets of $13.9 billion as of June 30, 2014.