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Gate City receives mini grant to revitalize theatre

Staff Report • Mar 1, 2018 at 6:00 PM

GATE CITY — Progress is being made on the Gate City Theatre revitalization project, and more progress is on the way thanks to a $3,000 grant from Rally Southwest Virginia.

The funds will go toward the next phase of renovation, which will allow the theatre to host outdoor movie nights and other community events.

What is Rally SWVA?

Rally SWVA stands for Real Action Leadership and Learning and is a $3,000 mini grant program established to “rally” the community and encourage community leadership.

Despite what might appear to be modest funding, the grant will help establish visible results in the hopes of encouraging the community to become more involved in the theatre restoration.

How far along is the restoration project?

As it currently stands, the theatre has three walls and no roof. Completing the project could take years and require large amounts of funding.

In the meantime, members of Gate City Frontier — the nonprofit organization in charge of the project — have been meeting with representatives of the UVA-Wise Office of Economic Development and Engagement to begin developing the theatre into a functional location.

What will the grant money be used for?

The funds from the Rally SWVA grant will establish the theatre as an open-air venue where movies can be projected on an outdoor screen. These movie night events will promote the theatre revitalization project in order to increase community interest and involvement.

The first movie night will be held June 16 and feature “The River,” a 1984 film that was partially shot in Gate City. It stars a young Mel Gibson, whose character fights to keep his farm operational in the face of floods and a bank foreclosure. The town is currently looking for a sponsor for this event.

How can you help?

Gate City Frontier is calling on community members to volunteer their time to get the theatre ready to host the first movie night and others like it. If you are handy, or simply willing to help, your assistance is welcomed.

A community work day will be held March 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. An alternate work day will take place April 7 in the event of inclement weather.

Tools needed for the community work day include a chipping hammer/hammer drill, crowbars, brooms, a sledgehammer, a reciprocating saw and a bucket truck or lift.

In addition to labor, Gate City Frontier is in need of an iron gate (48x80) for the entrance to the theatre. If you can help, contact Craig Gardner at (225) 333-2386 or Joan Cross at [email protected]

For more information, visit the Gate City Frontier Facebook page or attend the next Rally SWVA meeting, which will be held March 5 at 6 p.m. at the Family Bakery in Gate City.