Pass the popcorn! The City of Grand Island’s (pop. 49,239) newly renovated Historic Downtown Grand Theatre, can now welcome all movie lovers to enjoy their cinematic experience in style.
Until September 2012, the historic theatre was in dire need of better energy efficiency, improved accessibility, and general aesthetic enhancements. With the help of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, this theatre’s dream quickly became a reality. In May 2011, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development awarded the city $110,000 in CDBG funding. Additional sources of funding came from the Grand Island Community Revitalization Authority and The Non-Profit Grand Foundation.
Construction began in May 2011 and lasted until September 2012. During that time, efforts were made to restore the Theatre back to its original condition to help recreate the cinema magic. In addition to aesthetic improvements, efforts were made to install features that accommodated all movie-goers. Architectural barriers for the elderly and disabled were removed and a resurfaced entrance was installed to reduce the risk of slipping or falls. In addition, the ticket booth was relocated to improve accessibility, and automatic doors were put in to improve energy efficiency.
The renovation of the Historic Downtown Grand Theatre improves the overall appearance of downtown Grand Island. Because the Theatre is located in a Blighted and Substandard area, this restoration is a testimony to the success of the community. Considered the retail hub of central Nebraska, the Theatre will help Grand Island attract people and revenue from surrounding areas.
As a volunteer-run theatre, this project could not have been possible without the community and state partnership. The completed project is a major milestone for Grand Island and will continue to offer entertainment and opportunity for residents and visitors alike.