The Fallon City Council has approved a Community Development Block Grant to restore the downtown Fallon Theater.
City engineer Jim Souba said the council has received three possible CDBGs to submit projects: the demolition of the old juvenile probations office, the creation of sidewalks and the restoration of the theater. which was recently brought to the council’s attention. He said no public comments have come forward in support of either the juvenile probation office or the sidewalk project.
Souba said the Fallon Community Theatre Inc., submitted a request asking the city to submit the CDBG on its behalf since the foundation cannot.
Souba informed Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. the city has previously submitted CDBG for organizations. Examples he gave were for New Frontier and the Churchill County Senior Center.
Karla Kent, president of the Fallon Community Theatre Inc. told the council the theater is vital to downtown, and the foundation wants to save it. She said the Churchill Economic Development Authority has given its full support as well as the Downtown Merchants Association, which will ensure the theater remains the focus of downtown.
“If we receive the grant, we will use the money to purchase the theater,” Kent said. “Our goal is for the non-profit corporation to own the theater free and clear. This is important to the success of the project. Currently the theater grosses $20,000 per month, and that covers films, concessions, management, staff and utilities.”
Kent said there is a list of supporters who will help the theater succeed and that the organization has several fundraising ideas that will allow proceeds to go back to the Fallon Community Theatre, Inc.
“Being a non-profit corporation, all of the profits will go back into the business,” Kent said. “The project will start out slow, but as improvements are made, profits will increase. We will gain momentum as we grow.”
The Fallon Community Theatre, Inc. has already applied for a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that it hopes to receive. She said saving the downtown theater is important for the community and that it would provide a place for the community to use for performances and after school shows or for showing Wolf Pack games.
“Doing this project will preserve our history, help the downtown remain a viable business location and offer a lot to our citizens and our youth for generations to come,” Kent said.
Kent said as mentioned before the project will take some time to complete, she said as of now the corporation has a five-year plan in place.
Tedford said he is a bit concerned about the fees that will be associated with running the theater but said that he fully supports submitting the CDBG. He said restoring the theater will bring in more business and hopefully create more jobs and increase profits for the downtown businesses.
“Preserving and updating the theater could help all of downtown,” Tedford said. “By fixing up the theater that could create several jobs for residents and by creating jobs there it’s possible that surrounding business would need to increase their employees … so by the end of it you could possibly create 15 more jobs.”
After hearing the project idea, a short discussion led council members to submit the project to CDBG in an unanimous decision.