- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Sioux Falls city leaders rallied around the State Theatre last summer, approving an injection of $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars to help finally bring to a close the extended effort to restore the downtown venue.

City Hall’s gift, accompanied by $3.5 million from First Premier Bank founder T. Denny Sanford, came with the announcement of a spring 2020 opening.

But after decades of sitting dormant along Phillips Avenue, and years of working to restore the building, the timeline for opening the State has been delayed, a representative for the theater’s management group told the Sioux Falls Business Journal.

Efforts to put the finishing touches on the interior have been delayed due to complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic, said Allison Weiland, executive director for the Sioux Falls State Theatre Company

“The majority of theaters, applied performance and cinematic, are dark right now,” Weiland said. “And that’s a reality.”

But it’s not only concerns about opening during the pandemic and the effect of the pandemic on theater-goers that have caused the delay. Restoration work has also been slowed due to closures and shutdowns in other states and how that has affected the ability of local crews to finish the job.

The State ordered its chairs from Michigan, which was shutdown for weeks. They finally arrived a few weeks back.

“But now we have to get them installed,” Weiland said. “They send their installers as well, and they’ve all been pushed behind.”

Recently crews finally had the chance to put in the elevator after the State waited on New York to reopen and send over the steel for building out the shaft.

The State has been closed since 1991. The most current effort to restore and re-open the movie theater has been ongoing since 2011.

In a perfect world, with no other complications, the State would open this fall and start screening classic movies, Weiland said. New movies are hard to come by because of how the pandemic has affected the entertainment industry.

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