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Washington Theater Commission approves architectural plan

Concept Images Produced by Architechnics of Quincy show just one potential layout of the Washington Theater space.
Concept Images Produced by Architechnics of Quincy show just one potential layout of the Washington Theater space.

QUINCY (WGEM) -- While COVID-19 restrictions have canceled most of the fund-raising events planned by the Washington Theater this year, the Washington Theater Commission reported that it has been working behind the scenes developing an architectural plan for the 96-year-old theater.

Commission officials state that on Tuesday they approved spending $70,000 to develop a plan which would document the proposed use, layout, and costs associated with bringing the theater back to life. They stated the documentation is necessary to begin the fundraising phase of the project.

Commission officials report they are working with a professional theater consultant and architect, Killis Almond.

They also stated that locally, Architechnics of Quincy has been assisting the commission with the process.

Officials report that Killis Almond has renovated over 80 historic theaters like the Washington. The firm was also involved in developing the Feasibility Study which was commissioned in 2006. Much of the theater documentation was completed by Killis in 2006 which cuts the price tag of the plan.

Commission officials state the money for this phase of the project is funded 100% by fundraising events held by the Friends of the Washington Theater.

Fundraising events include Hansen-Spear’s 90th Anniversary celebration where more than $23,000 was raised, the Tribute to Bob Havens concert and many other events over the years.

As part of the business plan, officials state the hope is to turn the once Vaudeville Theater into a multi-purpose facility. A place for concerts, dinner theater, wedding receptions, corporate meetings, film festivals and other events. Our hope is community organizations will want to use the Washington Theater for their events.

Brian Heinz, President of the Washington Theater Commission says “The timing for the implementation of this plan is right. With potential Riverfront Development and the advancement of Quincy’s Strategic plan we feel this is the right time to move to the next phase of this project. The building has been idle for way too long and this plan will arm us with the information we need to begin major fundraising efforts. It will allow us to apply for local, state and federal grants which could be major funding sources for the project.”

The plan is to be presented before the City Council for approval as the Washington Theater is currently owned by the City of Quincy.

The Washington Theater Commission was developed in 2003 by former Mayor Chuck Scholz and has raised almost $700,000 so far. These funds have been used to stabilize the building, restore the Marquee and entrance and funding the feasibility plan.

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Jim Roberts

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