Somewhere along the line, the City of Ord’s (pop. 2,112) movie theatre, Valley Cinema, had passed its prime. By 2007, Valley Cinema had new ownership-but as watch-from-home movie services soared, the ability to make a profit with the movie theatre plummeted. To keep the movie theater experience alive for the City of Ord, owners Brian and Kelly Magiera transformed the theatre back to a historic performance arts venue for live performances, arts and entertainment. Fine dining also is being incorporated in the new theater.
The Magieras approached Valley County Economic Development for assistance in funding the project. A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) was deemed one of the best sources of funding. The regional benefits of this theatre project eventually qualified it for Tourism Development CDBG funding. An application was developed with collaboration among the City of Ord, Valley County Economic Development and Central Nebraska Economic Development District (CNEDD). In January 2011, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development awarded the City $106,250 in CDBG funding. Other matching funding sources included City Sales Tax (LB840) Funds, Small Business Administration (SBA) loan guarantees, and private funds. Further qualification for the CDBG funding included the number of low-to-moderate income clientele who would ultimately benefit from the project in the form of removal of architectural barriers and construction of appropriate restroom facilities for senior citizens and disabled persons.
The newly-renovated Valley Cinema benefits not only Ord, but the surrounding region as well. The renovated building will eventually feature a restaurant, stage for live performances and meeting rooms. This will allow major events and activities to be hosted in Ord and bring in people and revenue from surrounding areas.
Caleb Pollard, director of Valley County Economic Development, reflected on the meaning of CDBG funding for community development, “It is a nice income source for project development when a municipality needs it. We can bring a chunk of dollars to a project that is then leveraged with block grant funds for maximum impact,” he said.