By Jordan Huether
What’s your favorite memory of the Gordon Movie Theater? Perhaps it’s where you had your first date or even kiss. Where you were whisked away to the Land of Oz or played witness to epic battles in a galaxy far, far away. Maybe it’s where you were introduced to the likes of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Marilyn Monroe so many years ago. For over a hundred years the cinema has played a vital role in our community. It gives us entertainment. It gives our kids a safe place to enjoy themselves. It gives us something to take pride in. It brings people into our community who would otherwise be forced to travel elsewhere.
The Gordon Theater has been closed for several years now and is once again owned by the Gordon Community Development Corporation. A separate non-profit group has been formed to renovate, reopen and run the theater. A plan has been established to accomplish this, and the group just received a huge boost from the Ukena Charitable Trust Fund and the Turner Foundation to the tune of $20,000 and $10,000 respectively. This initial $30,000 has been designated toward the purchase of a new high definition digital projector for the theater, the most essential component of the entire operation.
Additional funding is now being sought through grant applications, fundraising and donations from the public. Once sufficient funds have been secured, construction will begin and the necessary equipment will be purchased. The entire cost of the project, including construction, all equipment and startup costs, is expected to be $158,913.
A special video will play prior to every film honoring all who donate to the project, including businesses and donations made in memory of loved ones. A new drop ceiling and sprinkler system is being donated and installed by Bob Dehn and the Gordon Volunteer Fire Department, a $25,000 value. A portion of construction costs and all installation of projection and audio equipment has also been donated.
In addition to the HD digital projector, the theater will feature state-of-the-art surround sound, updated seating, and will be able to show movies within a week or two of their theatrical release - several months before they are available to rent or stream at home. The facility will also serve as a center for conferences, seminars and community meetings, featuring a new stage at the front.
A booking agent has been secured to handle licensing and procurement of the movies and a paid manager will be in charge of overseeing the day to day operations and managing the volunteer groups who will work under the manager each week. The theater is still looking for volunteer groups willing to work at the theater on a quarterly basis.
If you would like to take part in bringing the cinema back to Gordon, donations may be sent in care of the Gordon Community Theater to Bank of the West, 205 N Main, Gordon, NE 69343 or the City of Gordon, Po Box 310, Gordon, NE 69343. Pledge forms and a complete project proposal can be found on the theater’s website gordontheater.com. Here you can also find updates and much more.
Editor’s Note: Jordan Huether is the president of the Gordon Community Theater, Inc.