- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

ORD, Neb. (AP) - The Valley Performing Arts Theatre group has purchased the former Ord Theatre with hopes of bringing it back to life and adding to the vibrancy of the community’s downtown area.

Assessor records show the group officially purchased the building July 2 from BankFirst for around $125,000, The Grand Island Independent (https://bit.ly/1gZvljd ) reported. The structure, built in 1928, is now called the Valley Theatre.

The last owners of the building undertook a large renovation around 2012, converting the theater into a more versatile event space and restaurant. It later closed, and Bob Stowell of the Valley Performing Arts Theatre group said they leased it for about a year.

Although discussions about what to do with the building are just beginning, group member Janie Zadina said the theater could be used for plays, musicals and other performances. The space also could be rented out for proms and weddings.

“Our focus will be bringing culture and art to our community,” Stowell said. “We want to have a creative community and a place that will be some place that will help re-energize our downtown area.”

The group also is planning partnerships with groups such as the Lied Center in Lincoln and Arts Across Nebraska, as well as Humanities Nebraska.

Dahn Hagge, the HomeTown Competitiveness coordinator for the Valley County Community Foundation Fund, said the building could become a “hub for community gatherings.”

“I just see this amazing opportunity to connect people and to empower a thriving downtown square,” Hagge said.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com


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