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$500k donation may bring changes to Jackson Theatre restoration plan


Plans for Jonesborough’s Jackson Theatre restoration may undergo some changes, thanks to a couple of generous donors — if the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen agree at tonight’s meeting.

According to Town Administrator Bob Browning, a donation of $300,000 from local arts philanthropist Sonia King, and an additional donation of $200,000 from the town’s own mayor, Kelly Wolfe, has put Jonesborough in the position to meet the $500,000 purchase price of the building owned by Dr. Charles Allen located at 125 W. Main St., next to the Jackson Theatre Building.

This purchase “essentially solves all the problems in the Jackson Theatre project,” Browning said, citing space issues in establishing restroom facilities, box office space and meeting fire code requirements.

The main floor of the Charles Allen building at 125 W. Main St. is already being rented out by the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre as The Stage Door — JRT’s box office and lobby area.

If the BMA approves the donations and purchase of the building at their Aug. 8 meeting, the new Jackson Theatre project will officially include the Jackson Theatre building, the Charles Allen building and the JRT as a theatre complex able to showcase with ease independent films, large storytelling events, musical performances, expanded theatre productions and workshop and conference activities.

While adding the new building to the complex may add to renovation costs, Browning said, he is confident they will be able to offset much of the costs by using the Carter County Work Camp crew whenever possible and by transferring already anticipated costs to the new location.

The town is also looking to apply for an up-to-$100,000 Downtown Facade Grant through the Community Development Block Grant program at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. The board will discuss steps required to apply for this grant Monday night as well.

The town purchased the actual Jackson Theatre building in 2014.