You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Fireworks recall underway over ‘burn hazard,’ could explode unexpectedly

Gloria Theatre renovations continue in Urbana


Efforts to return the historic Gloria Theatre in downtown Urbana to its past glory as in full swing.

“It’s a strong part of our community and our community’s memories,” said Dave Smith, who is spearheading the renovation work. “We have really no other venues for live performances and large business meetings.”

The Urbana United Methodist Church bought the building from Chakeres Theatres in February. The original idea was to hold Sunday outreach services there, Smith said. But as time went on, the thinking moved to giving something back to the community and a three-month feasibility study confirmed the economic viability of renovating the structure and reopening it as a multi-use facility.

A non-profit group — the GrandWorks Foundation — which has a board of directors comprised of local community leaders, was formed to oversee the renovation and the church now has only a minor role in the project.

“(The theatre) is one of the oldest in the state,” Smith pointed out.

It dates back to the Vaudeville era, when local entertainer Billy Clifford built it in 1904 for $80,000. The three-story Clifford Theater was one of the first to use electric stage lights and also included space to house actors and a 65-foot high addition in the back for raising sets.

Fire severely damaged the building in 1918 and some repairs were made. Warren Grimes bought it in 1940, Smith said, and reopened it on Christmas Day, 1941 as The Gloria Theatre, a two-story facility that featured state-of-the-art projectors that are still there. Grimes named it the Gloria Theatre, after his 5-year old daughter.

Chakeres Theatres purchased it in the early 1970s, Smith said, and split the large screen into two smaller ones.

Smith characterized the current renovation work as “fairly superficial, because the building is in incredible shape.” The building was remodeled about five years ago by Chakeres, which rebuilt the tower and put in all new seats, carpet and wall fabric.

The first phase of the work has been preparing the screen for use and making the downstairs ready for fund-raising efforts, like a musical on Jan. 9-10, 2015, which is based on the history of the theatre.

Second phase efforts will include transforming a part of the building that became a retail store into a cafe that Smith said could possibly be used for dine-in theatre events.

In the third phase, they will look at remodeling the second floor, including a large room that could be used for catered events, business meetings and wedding receptions.

“We are taking this a step at a time,” Smith said, “so we can raise the money (to pay for each phase of the work).”

He added, “By the time we’re done, we will have a state-of-the art facility” that will include digital projection, 3-D capabilities and a very large screen.

A kickoff for the fund-raising campaign will be held Dec. 13. The Champaign County Preservation has committed to match donations made by Christmas Day up to $5,000. Donations can be made online at grandworks.com or by mail at GrandWorks Foundation, P.O. Box 38128, Urbana, OH 43078.

Smith believes The Gloria Theatre will help continue the trend of people spending more time in downtown Urbana, especially with “the really nice restaurants” that have opened in recent years.

“It all ties together for sure,” he said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

FOOD DEAL: Starbucks buy one, get one free offer starts today
FOOD DEAL: Starbucks buy one, get one free offer starts today

If you’re a serial Starbucks coffee date canceler, this week is the week to reschedule! Starting today at 2 p.m., Starbucks everywhere are offering a ‘buy any grande iced espresso and get one FREE’ until 5 p.m. Those GRANDE concoctions full of caffeine will give you and your coffee buddy plenty of time to catch up, without...
U.S. to see lowest average Independence Day gas prices since 2005
U.S. to see lowest average Independence Day gas prices since 2005

Drivers hitting the road for the July 4 holiday weekend may see some of the lowest Independence Day gas prices since 2005, paying an average of $2.21 per gallon, well under the 10-year average of $3.14, according to GasBuddy.   Even though average gas prices are at historic lows, the price variance "spread" in industry parlance...
RANKING: Top 10 list of retailers includes 9 in this area
RANKING: Top 10 list of retailers includes 9 in this area

In a changing shopping landscape, retailers are fighting each other to stay relevant to consumers through shopping innovation — and 10 of them are doing it better than all the rest. The nation’s largest retailers have held onto their top spots by focusing on value and embracing new ways consumers are shopping, according to the annual Top...
Two Ohio-made vehicles on top American-made cars index
Two Ohio-made vehicles on top American-made cars index

Two vehicles made in Ohio have made Cars.com’s 2017 “American-made” index for top American-made cars. The vehicles are the Jeep Wrangler — including the Wrangler Unlimited four-door model — and the Jeep Cherokee, both made in Toledo, and the Acura RDX, which is made in East Liberty. RELATED: Fuyao celebrates opening...
Ohio gas prices increase
Ohio gas prices increase

DAYTON —  Average retail gasoline prices in Dayton have risen 9.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.18 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 391 gas outlets in Dayton. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.25 per gallon, according to gasoline...
More Stories