A long-awaited project at the Historic DeSoto Theatre should finally begin at the end of this month.
“We will sign the contract this week to start the work to do the façade project,” said Paul Griffin, president of the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation.
According to Griffin, the project is being funded by the remainder of a Community Development Block Grant and a Business Improvement District grant awarded to the DeSoto last year, with the balance coming from the foundation through fundraising and private donations.
Griffin said about $78,000 of the $100,000 CDBG grant was spent on putting a new roof on the building. The remaining $22,000, plus the $10,000 from BID, will be used toward the façade and outer entryway. “I want to express our most sincere appreciation to those working with the city of Rome, both employees and volunteers, who made these grants possible,” she said.
The project will restore the entry to its 1929 style, and will include repairing the stucco finish, restoring the marble trim and repainting the façade.
“The wood awnings over the windows will come down, as they were not part of the original building but were added in the late ’40s to early ’50s,” Griffin said.
DCR Construction Co., owned by Chyanne Russell, will be doing the restoration work. The work is expected to start soon.
Griffin said the foundation and the Fox Theatre Institute researched the paint colors, and determined what the original colors were back in 1929. The outside of the building will be primarily white.
Colors also will be changed in the exterior entryway and kiosk. Doors will be black with gold trim, and the wall over the doors will be red.
The Fox Theatre Institute earlier helped with the repainting of the ornate plasterwork in the interior vestibule. Other recent renovation work included the complete remodeling of the upstairs meeting rooms, an upgrade of the sound system and an Eagle Scout project upgrading the upstairs dressing rooms.
Griffin said there will be no major construction involved in the project.