Hundreds tour historic theater
by Anna Oakes
Appalachian Theatre of the High Country hosted an open house Friday to provide information about the theater's history and the ongoing project to renovate and re-open the theater, and a number of guides ushered groups inside for tours.
Speaking before the open house event was scheduled to conclude, ATHC volunteer and event organizer Bettie Bond said she believed about 300 people had stopped by.
"We're just trying to let people know that this is happening," Bond said.
Appalachian Theatre of the High Country assumed control of the theater building earlier this summer after paying off a $624,000 loan from the town of Boone. The town purchased the facility in a foreclosure sale in late 2011, agreeing to loan the purchase money to the Downtown Boone Development Association.
The DBDA then helped form the new nonprofit, ATHC, to manage the theater. The group plans to raise the money needed to renovate the theater and provide some startup operational funds. The facility will be rented to various community groups for music, theater, film and other events.
ATHC began a silent phase of a capital campaign in summer 2012, and in August, the nonprofit announced it had reached 40 percent of its fundraising goal -- which has not yet been announced.
"We're doing well in the private sector," said John Cooper, ATHC chairman. The organization has also applied for public grants to aid in the project.
In addition to the open house event held Friday, the ATHC plans a private event at Hound Ears Club on Nov. 14 -- the 75th anniversary of the Appalachian Theatre.
Bond, a member of the cabinet leading the capital campaign, said, "We had hoped to go public" with the fundraising goal at the Nov. 14 event, but she said the organization does not yet know if the campaign will go public at that time.
For more information about the ATHC project, visit http://www.savetheapptheatre.com.