A local group is making strides to reopen the Webster Theatre.
The theater has been shuttered since March 8 when former owners Sarah and Than Mott chose to close the business after taking ownership in June 2012. Now, a nonprofit group is working to reopen the theater.
Two representatives from the nonprofit, Jeff Pingel, of Black Hills Energy, and Deb Brown, Webster City Chamber of Commerce Director, met with Webster City High School students in an entrepreneurship class in mid-October. The two asked the class to come up with a name for the nonprofit which will not exclusively focus on the Theatre. The students came up with several names, and the group plans to use HERO, Helping to Entertain and Restore Organization.
As HERO is now working to attain 501(c)3 nonprofit status, they opened a Facebook page titled "Save The Webster Theatre" on Wednesday. By mid-afternoon, the page had more than 500 likes. The page currently contains a set of photos from inside the theater. Pingel created the page, and Brown said more information will be added soon.
"We're very excited about it. We need a theater. It's that simple," Brown said.
Students in the entrepreneurship class were given a tour of the theater to have a better idea of what they're working with. Students in the ISU Downtown Design Project, who visited Webster City in October, are also assisting with revitalizing the theater. However, Brown said broad community commitment is what will save the theater.
"We hope that the community will be involved as well because that's what will make it work. If people will come to the movies here, it will help."
The next steps for HERO include creating a business plan, getting money for repairs and calling another community meeting to discuss the project.
The Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/savethewebstertheatre.