Historic Hoosier Theater awarded federal rehab grant of $459,410

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The Historic Hoosier Theater, through the Town of Vevay, has been informed that it has received a federal grant to cover renovation and preservation of the theater.

  Last Thursday, February 22nd, Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) announced that the Town of Vevay was among 13 rural Indiana communities to be awarded grant funding. Overall, more than $8 million was awarded to create and expand community facilities, remove blight and improve water infrastructure.

  The Town of Vevay was awarded a total of $459,410 through OCRA’s “Public Facilities Program” portion of the federal funding.

  The funds, along with matching funds that were secured here, will now be used to rehabilitate the Historic Hoosier Theater on Ferry Street. The work is expected to include brick and concrete masonry work; a new roof; the restoration of windows and doors; and funds will also be used to address issues outside and inside of the theater building that have been caused by water leaking into the facility.

   “We started about this time last year,” Theater Board of Directors President Trey Gray said. “On the first Friday of March last year we went and met with the people at Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning and we simply asked them, ‘what grant opportunities are out there?’ The next thing we know, we’re on a path to this public facilities grant for historical preservation through OCRA.”

  Gray said that a lot of work has taken place locally, but said that the entire application process has benefited from the large load of work that the officials at Regional Planning have taken on with regard to this grant.

  He noted that the theater was able to secure matching funds locally — which greatly enhanced the chances of getting the overall grant awarded.

  “We had to have matching funds, and we’re really thankful to the Paul Ogle Foundation, they committed funds to us ($50,000),” Gray said. “The Community Foundation of Switzerland County ($15,000) and the Vevay-Switzerland County Foundation ($15,000) also provided us with matching funds, and we are grateful for those; and of course the town and the folks at Regional Planning and the entire community. We had so many people who wrote letters of support for us here in the community and people who have given private donations — and everyone who filled out our survey. That was a part of the grant — filling out those surveys.”

  Gray and his fellow board members now anxiously await seeing the grant funds put into those needed improvements.

  “We’re going to get a new roof. We’re going to get new doors and windows,” Gray said of the project. “There’s going to be a lot of brick work done. I think that’s the main part right there.”

  Gray said that the board doesn’t yet know when the actual work will be starting, noting that the board will be meeting with Regional Planning and OCRA officials within the coming days to get a timeline in place — but he believes that the work will get underway sometime late summer.

  He doesn’t think that the work will disrupt any of the theater’s scheduled programming.

  “As of right now, they are saying that they will be able to work around our schedule,” Gray said, “But we are going to have to be flexible, too, with some of our programs. As of right now, I think it all should go smoothly.”

  Along with Gray, the other officers of the Theater’s Board of Directors include Vice President Connie Adams and Secretary-Treasurer Michelle Self. Other members of the board include: Adele Snook, Jan Bixler, Tara Flint, Marie Cole, Allen Detmer, Libby Kinman, and Ky Baker is the board’s student representative.

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  “Rural Indiana is the next great economic frontier,” said Lieutenant Governor Crouch. “But to achieve that success, we can’t ignore the needed maintenance of basic, but vital, aspects of community infrastructure. This grant money will enable these 13 Hoosier communities to find economic growth while improving health and safety across the state.”

  The State of Indiana distributes Community Development Block Grant funds to rural communities, which assist units of local government with various community projects such as infrastructure improvement, downtown revitalization, public facilities and economic development.