| Federal funding for Bijou
April 25, 2005 - Congressman John J. Duncan Jr. joined Mayor Bill Haslam and community leaders today to announce $571,608 in federal support for the restoration and preservation of Knoxville's 188-year-old Bijou Theatre.
presented Mayor Haslam and Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation President
Bruce Hartmann with a ceremonial check to mark the occasion during
a press conference on the theater's stage.
"Almost everyone in our community has fond memories of the Bijou,"
Duncan said. "I am pleased federal funding will assist this historic
facility and preserve it for future generations. Mayor Haslam and
Bruce Hartmann deserve tremendous credit for coming to the Bijou's
aid at this critical time."
The Mayor is is leading a fundraising campaign to generate private
support for the Bijou
contribution represents a significant step in securing the future
of the Bijou Theatre," Haslam said. "Knoxville is fortunate to have
Congressman Duncan's support for this historic venue that contributes
to downtown's role as the cultural center of East Tennessee."
Duncan secured the funds in a federal spending measure, and HUD approved
the theater's plan for disbursement this month. The federal contribution
will be paired with an estimated $2.1 million from private sources
to stabilize the theater and continue its operation.
Financial difficulties forced the Bijou's Board of Trustees to close
the theater last year. Knoxville businessmen Fred Langley and Sam
Furrow prevented a foreclosure on the theater's $731,000 mortgage
by purchasing the debt from an Oregon bank in March.
The Theatre Foundation then agreed to take over management of the
Bijou, and AC Entertainment now oversees the theater's daily operations.
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