Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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July 3, 2014

Marion County Community Foundation awards $30K to Theater

Knoxville — The Marion County Community Foundation has awarded the Grand Theater Foundation a $30,000 grant. 

MCCF representatives made the presentation at the theater Thursday morning. Will Prather, longstanding MCCF Board member, said he believes that amount is the largest the foundation has ever awarded. 

"This is going to go a really, really long way," Grand Theater Foundation President Dylan Morse said. The funds are earmarked for the digital projection system. Morse said with the funding, enough money has been raised to purchase projection equipment for one of the auditoriums. The first to open, as soon as the building is ready for it, will be the larger, downstairs auditorium.

"This was a big bite out of a big chunk of money," Morse added. The project remains on the foundation's schedule. 

MCCF Board member Don Croghan said that his foundation is countywide. Everyone involved from around Marion County recognizes the significance of the theater and they remain supportive of the project to see it reopened. 

"The people in Pella see value in supporting the project," Croghan said. 

The cost of the projection system is a little over $100,000. The agreement with the projection company also required the theater to replace the building's electrical system. 

Morse said in a six-day period, the theater as able to raise $75,000. Donations have come from a variety of sources, including proceeds from real estate sales and memorials. Board member Scott Ziller is flattered by the contributions and excited for the future of the theater.

Curt Schwanebeck, whose family used to own the theater, recently welcomed his brother, Cort, to town. They took a tour of the theater and reminisced about its rich history. 

The MCCF has announced all of its awards for this year. The list is attached to this story. 

Morse said there will soon be more activity going on at the theater that the public will easily notice. 

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