Gooding nonprofit wants to see performances again and historic theatre

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GOODING, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Charmy LeaVell and her husband bough the Schubert Theatre in Gooding in 2008.

"We heard it was going to be turned into a racquetball court so we made an offer on the building," LeaVell said.

They held it until 2014, when they formed a nonprofit called Gooding Restoration for Entertainment, Arts and Theatre, or GREAT, Inc. and donated to the organization.

They plan to restore the almost 100-year-old theatre which entered the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

The theatre has seen better days and its age is certainly showing. Frozen water sits in corners, sunlight finds it's way through cracks and holes and wires hang from the ceiling. This week the basement even flooded.

Then there's the damage that came from previous owners. When they tried to make the theatre into a place to watch feature films, previous management spray painted over much of the original decorations with black paint.

"A lot of the beauty was covered and we do have to undo a lot of that, we have to undo a lot of damage," said Diana Rowe, a volunteer with GREAT, Inc.

They've started to replace the plumbing, it needs heat and electricity, but before all of that, the roof needs to be completely replaced.

They've received more than $45,000 in donations and grants to repair it. The Idaho Heritage trust gave them a $9,000 grant. The Curtis Turner Memorial Fund and the Unrestricted Southwestern Region in the Idaho Community Foundation donated $3,900. Kings Stores Fund donated $750. Union Pacific tacked on $10,000. Farm Credit Services added $1,500. Laura Moor Cunningham donated $5,000 and more than $15,000 came from anonymous or community donations.

"We're getting there, but we need all the support we can get," LeaVell said.

They still need around $20,000 more just to replace the roof. Once they get the theatre running again, they have big plans for it.

"We're going to start right away just as soon as we get that roof on," LeaVell said.

Rowe grew up going to the theatre, now she is excited to see it come back to life.

"I love history, I love the arts, I love our community and this just kind of ties all of it together into one amazing package," Rowe said.

It's a package that they are asking for help from the community to put together. On Thursday, at 7 p.m. they are holding a community forum at Gooding High School.

"We need their vision, we need their ideas, we need their support," Rowe said. "So I really look forward to seeing a good group."

They hope to have a good starting point after the meeting.

"When we come out of that meeting we'll come out of there with a community mission and a community vision," LeaVell said.

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