GOSHEN — When communities start looking at investing in their downtowns, they often begin with turning their local theater into a catalyst for economic and cultural growth.
But for Goshen, restoring the iconic theater on South Main Street would be the last major step of its downtown revitalization.
After receiving preliminary backing last month for $1.8 million in Indiana Regional Cities Initiative funding, leaders in the nonprofit group Goshen Theater Inc. are in the midst of a private fundraising campaign to obtain additional funds. The theater initiative has also received a $4 million boost from the Goshen Redevelopment Commission.
The group’s goal is to raise nearly $13.5 million to renovate the four-story theater, bolstering development possibilities in the city center and the sense of community in the city.
“A theater restoration is seen as a catalyst for economic development in the downtown, and in Goshen we’re the last remaining piece to be resolved,” said Gina Leichty, president of the Goshen Theater Inc. board. “One of our commitments is to engage as many groups of people as possible in utilizing our theater and making it a true community center that everyone can be really proud of.”
Proposed renovations include electrical and plumbing upgrades, installation of a new heating and air conditioning system and installation of a new elevator for access to all floors.
Other plans call for improving the building's façade, replacing the box office, expanding the concession area, improving seating and adding more restroom facilities, dressing rooms and rehearsal spaces. Furthermore, lighting needs updating and new sound and stage rigging equipment is needed.