MOUNDSVILLE - Since paying $110,000 to acquire the structure at the corner of Fifth Street and Jefferson Avenue in the late 1990s, members of the Strand Theatre Preservation Society have spent nearly $2 million renovating the venue.
For Dave Knuth and Tiffany Turner, president and vice president of the society, respectively, the non-profit group's work has been well worth the effort. The theater that originally opened in 1920, but closed in 1996, now hosts events such as weddings, birthday parties, musicals, recitals and even the occasional motion picture.
"People need to take advantage of small, traditional theaters," said Knuth, who also serves as executive director of the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce. "They are a real asset to the community that you have to try to preserve."
Dave Knuth, executive director of the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce and president of the Strand Theatre Preservation Society, said about $2 million has been invested to renovate the theater since 2000.
Dave Knuth discusses the theater’s attributes while overlooking the balcony.
Now, society members are working to improve the Strand's balcony level. They are working to install new restrooms, as well as a small conference room and snack bar area. These amenities will be in addition to the restrooms and snack area on the first floor.
"It will be something to allow outside groups to come in and hold meetings," Knuth said of the new conference area. "Plus, having upstairs restrooms will be more convenient for guests."
To help finish the new construction, the society received an $86,750 grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. However, to receive the grant, Knuth said the society must be able to find matching funds from local donors.
"We have a $24,000 commitment from Williams Energy," Knuth said.
Turner recently appealed to the Marshall County Commission with a request of $11,000 to help meet the $86,750 dollar-figure.
"We are coming down the home stretch. There is a light at the end of the tunnel," she told commissioners.
Though commissioners tabled the request for further consideration, Knuth is optimistic the society will get the required matching funds.
"Our community recognizes the value of this theater," he said. "We are fortunate in that."