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$2.5 million in proposed state budget could help open doors at the Fox Theatre in Fullerton

A $2.5 million boost in funding for the restoration of the Fox Theatre in the proposed 2018-19 state budget could help open the theater’s doors as a regular venue.
The funding, part of a budget proposed last week by Gov.Jerry Brown, would go toward the Fox earning its certificate of occupancy – a key step that would let the theater be used for more events. Money would also be used on architect plans and restoration of eight murals in the old movie house.
The theater, which opened in 1925 and closed in 1987, has had a rocky road to recovery since the Fullerton Historic Theatre Foundation narrowly succeeded in saving the building from demolition in 2004.
“We feel a huge obligation to the community to get this thing open,” Leland Wilson, foundation president, said. “This goes a long way in getting us to a point where people can come and enjoy the theater again.”
Wilson credits the inclusion in the budget to Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, who has advocated for the theater and arranged a tour with Gov. Brown late last year.
Events at the theater since its rescue have been limited to temporary affairs; each event has required a permit and other pricey considerations. Once the theater is officially fit for occupancy, it will again be free to host plays, concerts and many other events at its discretion, Wilson said.
In the last few years, the theater has had its red tag removed and historic restorations done to its rooftop sign, ceiling and most of its stage area.
The restoration has seen its share of challenges – between the recession in 2008 and plans falling through for work on two lease revenue-producing buildings – money has been much tighter than originally planned, Wilson said.
The theater will still need to raise about $20 million to complete its full plans, Wilson said. That would fund a $10 million addition including office space, a lobby and a rooftop restaurant, plus technology, electrical and water work and much more.
This year, the business plan for the theater will be updated, and then work can begin on raising the rest of the funds needed to finish the restoration.
The proposed California budget, including the $2.5 million for the theater, will be revision in May based on economic forecasts, and should be passed by the legislature in the summer.
Source: Oc Register

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