Holly Theatre reveal promises to be historic

Owners of the Holly Theatre hope locals will take a trip down memory lane when the marquee is illuminated next month as part of a major effort to restore the theater to its 1930 glory. "I just think the Holly is going to sparkle on April 21," said Ron Kramer, executive director of the Jefferson Public Radio Foundation, which is funding the restoration.

The marquee, corner neon light and entryway doors are on order and should be installed for a community event to celebrate the illumination, scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, April 21, on the corner of Holly and Sixth streets. Easy Valley Eight will entertain guests, and 38 Central restaurant will sell refreshments.

Members of the City Council will sport 1930s-era garb, following a suggestion by Councilwoman Karen Blair.

Sometime after 8 p.m., a short presentation from the Holly Theatre Restoration Committee and Mayor Gary Wheeler will be given, followed by the lighting ceremony.

The interior of the Holly still needs a lot of work, so visitors won't be able go inside the theater.

A local company, Epic Scan, has prepared a 3-D video tour of the interior depicting what the theater will look like once it's restored. The video will be depicted on a large screen during the event.

For the past two months, scaffolding has been erected in front of the building while the general contractor, Hammonds Construction of White City, repairs windows and attends to other details on the facade.

During the ceremony, the first donor tile will be installed in the entry way to mark the $300,000 in contributions from the Medford Urban Renewal Agency toward the project.

Kramer said JPR is awaiting bids to fix a truss supporting the roof. Estimates to replace the truss are about $200,000, he said.

Some of the estimates have been coming in lower than expected, he said. For instance, asbestos abatement, estimated to cost $90,000, actually came in at $30,000.

Donors have provided $35,000 in cash for the project so far, but Kramer estimates donated labor and other free repairs that have been offered account for another $25,000 to $50,000.

JPR hopes to raise $1.8 million for the restoration through tax credits.

JPR will be restoring the entire front of the Spanish-colonial style building for an estimated $225,000. A 33-foot-tall vertical neon sign that says "Holly" will be installed on the corner of the building.

"I'm hoping this will be a very family-friendly event," Kramer said. "I'm hoping there are folks who remember the Holly way back when."

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email dmann@mailtribune.com.

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