EVANSVILLE —In the goal to reopen Alhambra Theatre, "phase 1," or exterior renovation, is complete, and the interior projects of "phase 2" are being planned.
But newly appointed board-of-directors president Rachael Goldman said she wants to do more than just reopen the 99-year-old Downtown movie house.
"If we can use the Alhambra as not only a film house," Goldman said, "but also a community center, that would be phenomenal."
Goldman was unanimously voted president by the Alhambra Theater Inc. board on Jan. 25, and her vision is for Alhambra become — among other things — "a resource center," "a place where you can start" and the "center of the Downtown arts district."
"I think that's she's going to take her turn and really bring some additional energy," said former President Kathy Scheller, who now sits on an advisory board after her term ended in January.
"I'm supportive of her, and I'm excited for her."
Goldman is one of the youngest presidents in recent memory, tenured members said, and former President Lynn Miller-Pease described her as an energetic, well-connected woman who's enthusiastic about the Alhambra.
Several new board members accompany the new goals of which Goldman said there are now about 24, up from 10.
"Our large board is meant to cover this new and expanded vision," she said.
Goldman is a fifth-generation pawn broker who grew up and resides Downtown. The Signature High School alumni got involved with the nonprofit group three years ago, volunteering with events held on theater grounds and serving as an officer.
She steps in at a time when momentum for reviving the theater is the greatest it's ever been, officials said.
"After the Fine family sold it," Goldman said about the 1956 closure, "it sort of fell into disrepair and, really, the neighborhood with it."
It was assumed in the 1990s by River's Bend Playhouse, a group that tried to restore the theater but eventually ran into lawsuits for unpaid bills and foreclosure. Alhambra Theatre, Inc. took possession in 2003 after a tax sale
In 2008, former 8th District Congressman Brad Ellsworth secured a $196,000 federal grant to renovate the exterior of the theater, and two years later the Evansville Redevelopment Commission voted to contribute $200,000 toward that project.
Scheller, who played a large role in facilitating phase 1, said the building has been shored up and exterior work is done.
Phase 2 mostly involves bringing the building into compliance with city code, something that should be finished this decade.
Board members will also consider changing the layout and seating arrangements.
Goldman envisions her board being active in things outside of the theater, from discussing ideas to assisting in activities with other Downtown groups and nonprofits.
"I think you'll see a lot more efforts on the part of the Alhambra Theatre board to work with the community, work with the city and work with our fellow neighbor nonprofits to make the arts district a fun and exciting destination for the entire city."