Financial Woes Put Wayne Theater Renovations on Hold - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Financial Woes Put Wayne Theater Renovations on Hold

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Plans to restore the former Vaudeville and silent movie theater of Waynesboro to greatness are on hold.

Renovation construction on the Wayne Theater came to a standstill last week after a loan wouldn't go through. To stay on track, the Wayne Theater Alliance, which oversees the site, needs to raise $600,000 on top of money already raised.

They also need to get work going within the next 45 days. Leaders are adamant the project will move forward.

Crews have already put in a new balcony and removed asbestos and lead. But even though the stage is in place, the lights won't be turning on anytime soon. Bill Hausrath, the chair of the Wayne Theater Alliance's Board of Directors, says it's a tight spot to be in.

"The position that we find ourselves in now is that we've had to call the contractor off of the job because the construction financing hasn't funded,” Hausrath said.

The master vision to transform the historic theater into a top-notch performance space is faltering. Planners had collected money through private donations and grants, but the bulk of the bill was supposed to come from a $5.5 million loan from the Virginia Community Development Corporation. But in January, when Congress did not renew the applicable tax credits program, the Wayne Theater Alliance learned they would now need another $600,000.

Despite the challenges ahead, Hausrath has a positive outlook.

"The alliance has been very successful in raising funds both through grants and donations. And we have a huge number of loyal supporters and donors. And we are very hopeful that we can in fact motivate them to help us close this gap,” he said.

The original plan was to unveil the new Wayne Theater next March, but unless the project gets going again soon, it will be difficult to stick to that date.

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