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Community Spotlight: Logan Theater Project Shines With Major Grant Support

Big things are underway at the Logan Theater in downtown Logan and our Hocking Hills Banking Center is thrilled to be part of the action. After years of neglect, volunteers have moved mountains to secure the building with a new roof and windows, added an elevator, and created event spaces for community use. Now they’ve turned their attention to the building’s crown jewel– the old theater where the stage once enticed audiences in for Vaudeville acts and Hollywood hits.

Not only will the theater be a draw for locals and tourists, it’s expected to offer something special for classic film lovers. That’s because they have restored the original 35mm projector which is sure to draw in “film geeks” who want to see their favorite films played in their original format on the big screen.

While Logan Theater, Inc., has received corporate donations from local businesses like VCNB and support from the community, it was the recent award of a $4.9 million Appalachian Community Grant that will help them cross the finish line to completing most of the renovation and construction that’s left.

Executive Director Jodi Bainter recently gave us a tour of the completed upper floors and shared the vision for what’s still to come inside the theater. “This was once the cornerstone for entertainment in Logan and the surrounding area. We want to honor the theater for what it once was and for what it can be for future generations,” she said.

The third floor once served as ceremonial space for the Knights of Pythias who built the building in 1925. Architectural remnants of those days remain, including a low stage that helps with events and meetings in the bright, airy room overlooking Main Street. Smaller spaces on that floor are being rented to a local photographer and to a guitar teacher. The second floor is used by the Logan Hocking School District for their own events and activities. This has brought new life into the theater building and created beneficial partnerships.

Bainter said they have learned from other independent theaters and are excited to incorporate the best of the ideas to make the Logan Theater a fun draw for a whole new generation of theater goers. Things like sing along movies, Saturday morning cartoons, senior matinees, classic films, and movie related events are sure to please a variety of audiences. “We want to make going to the movies fun again and we want it to feel special so we are learning everything we can to make sure we do just that,” she explained.

The organization is working to honor the theater’s Roaring Twenties history while sticking to reasonable design goals and meeting modern expectations for comfortable seating and enough restrooms for a crowd. It is currently an almost blank slate that will soon hold 400 seats. Since it was built for Vaudeville, the plan is to incorporate some live performances as well. “We want a movie house but we also want to honor the tradition of live performance here so expect some of that too,” Bainter exclaimed. “Lots of people here have wonderful memories of seeing their first movie or of working here when they were young. We want to honor that too.”

While the grant provides funding for construction, it does not help with operational expenses like paying for staff, utilities and other basic costs of running an office. That’s why the organization continues to fundraise and to seek income streams that will help keep the lights on until the theater opens. One way they do that is through renting the upstairs event space. “Everyone thinks the $4.9 million has solved all our problems and it has solved a lot of them. But until the work is all done and we’re able to open and start bringing people in here, we still have to figure out ways to fund operation expenses. We are thankful to everyone who has helped us.”

Go to their website at logantheater.org/ to make a small donation and cast your vote for the first movie to be shown in the theater.

This is an update of a story we wrote previously about this project when our Hocking Hills Banking Center agreed to sponsor the concessions stand for a $25,000 contribution. Please click here to read that story about the theater and the origins of this important economic development project in Logan.



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