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Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson, third from right, accepts a symbolic check from Appalachian
Theatre board members, from left, John Cooper, Keith Martin, Karen Sabo, Frank Mohler and
Bob Neill.
Anna Oakes | Watauga Democrat

Originally published: 2013-07-22 09:38:47
Last modified: 2013-07-22 09:52:20

App Theatre group takes over facility, issues RFQ

by Anna Oakes

The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country on Tuesday presented a symbolic check to the town of Boone for the balance of the town's loan for the purchase of the Appalachian Twin in 2011.

The town fronted $624,000 for purchase of the foreclosed property in late 2011, agreeing to loan the money to the Downtown Boone Development Association for three years. The nonprofit Appalachian Theatre of the High Country formed to manage the theater and raise the funds necessary for the building's restoration.

Approximately $100,000 of the loan had been repaid to the town as of May, but ATHC members worked this spring to secure a bridge loan to pay the remaining balance due to the town. Project leaders cited the need to take possession of the theater and the town's fiscal challenges as reasons for obtaining the loan.

"We had all the faith in the world in y'all. We knew you could do it," Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson said Tuesday. "I just look forward to it being finished."

John Cooper, chairman of the ATHC board of trustees and campaign cabinet, said in June that ATHC has arranged for a one-year loan for approximately $300,000, which he expects can be paid in five or six months.

He said the group has already raised "way more" than the theater's purchase amount, but that a portion is in pledges, which in some cases are to be paid during several years.

In addition to thanking the town, ATHC expressed gratitude to the DBDA as well for serving as the fiscal agent for the project and providing monetary and administrative support in getting the new nonprofit started.

"This unique private-public partnership is a model for projects of a similar nature, and the DBDA is proud to contribute to the success of the Appalachian Theatre," DBDA President Dempsey Wilcox said in a statement.

The capital campaign for the project remains in the silent phase and is expected to go public in late summer or early fall.

The theater property was transferred to ATHC on July 11, and the organization has issued a request for qualifications to architectural firms with successful records in restoring and renovating similar historic theaters.

Persons interested in getting involved with front-of-house activities or working behind the scenes at the theater should contact volunteer coordinator Bettie Bond at (