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Green Room Newsletter

Fresh Air and Stretched Budgets

April 28, 2011, marked a milestone for the theatre: the completion of the mold and asbestos abatement. What a great day! Although clean air is a micro step in terms of the entire project, let’s celebrate even our most modest successes. The crews of Gerken Environmental Enterprise and ACM Removal completed the work in just over 6 days. Of course, we still have a west basement that only a mother could love – BUT, the pipes, joists, and beams are mold and asbestos free.

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Securing the Envelope

We realize how eager everyone is to SEE something happening. Removing asbestos, dewatering basements, repairing failing concrete beams – that’s just NOT ROMANTIC! And worse – it’s downright invisible to the public. Still, here we are up to our eyeballs in the most important part of this restoration – securing the envelope. The flexibility of the National Parks Service (NPS) will allow our 2010 Heritage Trust Fund grant money to be a partial match for the Save America’s Treasures fund.

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Love Shack

Many of you have shared your fond memories of the Colonial Fox Theatre by writing or emailing them to us. Our Grand Lady has been a place to love over the years and also a place to find love. Several relationships have blossomed under her watchful eyes. Some couples merely shared a first kiss while other went on to be married. In 1962, one pair of PSU students came to see “The Sky Above, The Mud Below” on their first date.

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The Up High and Down Low of it All

Although you cannot see it from the street, the Colonial Fox Theatre has undergone some significant changes in the last two years - moving her closer to the final goal of restoration. The condition of the roof was shocking. We had to replace many more rotten joists than we anticipated. In fact, probably the only thing that kept the old fan house from falling 30 feet onto the historic theatre seats below was the six inch accumulation of tar paper and asphalt.

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The Challenge

In just three months, we are one- third of the way to meeting the Pritchett Trust’s $30,000 challenge grant. For those of you who have become an annual member, we thank you. We cannot stop here! Help us reach our goal of 1000 members by joining today. The total match we need in 2009 is $55,000. Annual memberships provide the money necessary for challenge grants and state and federal matching grants.

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Festival Celebrates Arts & Film

Two big movies at two successful events have given the Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation something to applaud. The Foundation hosted its first Festival on Broadway, on September 12. The festivities were moved from the parking lot outside the Grand Old Lady to the old National Guard Armory due to rainy weather but the rain didn’t keep members of the community away.

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A New Hat for the Grand Old Lady

Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation was recently awarded a $90,000 Heritage Trust Fund Grant that will help give the grand old lady a brand new hat. The Kansas State Historical Society selected twenty-two projects in Kansas out of sixty-five eligible applicants to receive grants this year. Of the more than $1.2 million in grant monies awarded in 2008, only five received the $90,000 maximum. “It’s so highly competitive,” CFTF president Vonnie Corsini said in a Morning Sun article.

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Grand She Was, Grand She Will Again Be

She has taken two gracious steps — one into the past and one toward the future — as both the State and National Registries of Historic Places have granted our Colonial Fox Theatre the honor of being included in their rolls of places worthy of preservation. Many, many people have worked to attain this honor for our Grande Dame but holding her hand the tightest was Dr. Joel Rhodes, Pittsburg native, Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation trustee, and associate professor of history at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.

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Foundation Reaches Major Goal

In less than a year, saving the Colonial Fox Theatre from continuing to sit vacant or being destroyed has gone from a simple idea to becoming even more of a reality. The Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation (CFTF), with its 400 for $40K fundraising campaign, announced on November 30, that it had reached its goal to purchase the building from Marsha Besse, thus making it the property of the CFTF.

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Little Balkans Day

On Saturday, September 1, 2007, the Colonial Fox Theatre celebrated Little Balkans Days with tours of the theatre every 30 minutes. Over 600 people waited in line to see the progress the Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation has made on the restoration. A video presentation was set up on the stage and a musician played just inside the lobby. Bill Sollner presented one of his Pied Piper Puppet shows at the entrance of the theatre.

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The Lights Return to Broadway

When the Colonial Fox Theatre reopens its doors, it will provide a venue for professionals and amateurs alike, and will feature theatrical performances, music concerts, and a variety of independent/classic films. The theatre will house a cafe and educational and corporate meeting space. Our plans for future programming include becoming host to art exhibits, film and music festivals and extended performing art workshops.

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The Race to Revive the Colonial Fox Theatre Is Now!

The Colonial Fox theatre is at a critical point in its history. For generations, it has been a community gathering place as well as a showcase for live performances and film. Sadly, for the past years, it has sat as a lifeless shell in the downtown core of Pittsburg. Built just prior to the height of the traditional movie palace years (1925- 1930), the Colonial Fox is Pittsburg's only remaining theatre from this era.

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