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Wieting Theatre update: positive and profitable

Toledo City Council

April 7, 2013
By Jimmy Gillispie - Staff Writer , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Jim Roan, Wieting Theatre project manager, came to the Toledo City Council meeting last week and gave what he hopes to be the first of many annual reports about the historic downtown venue.

Roan discussed the Wieting Theatre's financial situation, its past events and its future during his short presentation. It's something he wants to continue doing annually around this time.

"I'll try to do this each year about this time, so that the city council kind of knows what's going on next door at the Wieting Theatre," Roan said. "Through the years, the bank and the city have helped the theatre out when we've run into an emergency, so we want to continue to keep you up to date, as far as the project is concerned."

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Before giving his update on the theatre, Roan introduced Denise Fletcher as the new president of the Theatre Guild. She was at the meeting with Roan. Fletcher is one of 15 volunteer members on the guild.

Roan's update began with arguably the most important - financial report. He was happy to tell the city council good news about the theatre's cash flow.

"Since we reopened in February of last year, we've been showing a positive cash flow," Roan said. "That's a lot better than in 2008 when I first came to talk to the council. We were down to three guild members and we had to come up with $1,000 to open the door the next day. It's a little different than that now and that's because we've gotten the theatre back on its feet again. We've had movies and live performances there."

The cash flow report was from Jan. 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2012. It showed an income of $68,842.32 and expenses totaling $61,713.95, which also included a debt payment of $5,000.

Roan said the current debt on the building is $121,000, but he'd like to decrease that $50,000 or less before too much time has gone by this year. To help with that, he's filled out paperwork for several grant applications. Roan also told the council that once the debt is paid off, the theatre members would like to begin Phase Two of the renovations. That includes fixing up the dressing rooms, improving the lights and other improvements behind the stage.

"We're continuing to do fundraising," Roan said. "I want to get all of this completed sometime this summer, because we're going to put up a donation wall in the theatre. It will include general donations, seat donations and a special plaque for the people we've gotten larger grants from. An example is the City of Toledo.

"The restorations to the Wieting Theatre have surely been an economic development improvement to our main street," he added. "It's provided good training and education to our young people."

The Wieting Theatre is planning a summer camp and performance for area youth. Roan didn't tell the city council many details about the camp, but he is excited about it.

"We just think it's a wonderful opportunity for the young people of our community to get the chance to perform in a real, live theatre," he said.

During the past year, the Wieting Theatre has shown hit movies, hosted trivia nights and several live shows, including a recent opera. Roan reported there have been visitors from Marshall and Benton counties to the theatre.

"We want to thank the city council and City of Toledo for the use of the facility here (Toledo community building)," Roan said. "We've had receptions here after live performances. That's worked out really good and we thank you for the use of the facility here."



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