The Webster Theater is one step closer to reopening.
On Monday, Deb Brown, Webster City Chamber Director and Help Restore and Entertain Organization, HERO, board member, announced the group had met their first fundraising goal to purchase the Webster Theater.
"We're just thrilled," Brown said. "We're beside ourselves."
The first fundraising goal for HERO was to raise $23,800 before Jan. 31, 2014. Of that money raised, $22,500 will go toward the purchase of the theater. The other $1,300 was to help HERO attain nonprofit status. The goal of Jan. 31 was the deadline for an agreement between the group and Wells Fargo where if HERO raised the necessary funds before that date, Wells Fargo would match it.
Now that the money to purchase the theater has been attained, Brown said the organization will put in the necessary paperwork to purchase the building. She is not sure how long it will take for HERO to complete that process.
Their focus is now on continuing fundraising to repair and restore the theater. That includes work on the buildings roof, flooring and upgrading to a digital projector. At a public meeting held on Dec. 20, HERO board member Jeff Pingel said the film industry will no longer be supporting nondigital projectors as of Jan. 1. The second phase of fundraising aims to gather $80,000 for those purposes.
HERO is continuing the sale of seats from the theater as a fundraiser. Donors can sponsor one of the 300 seats in the theater for $300 which includes an aluminum stamp that can contain a message from the donor. So far, HERO has sold 10 seats.
General donations are also accepted. While HERO is not yet a nonprofit group, tax deductible donations can be made out to the Enhance Hamilton County Foundation with "HERO fund" written in the memo line. Those checks can be dropped off at the Webster City Chamber of Commerce.
Another upcoming venue for fundraising is an online drive where donors can receive rewards for giving. Brown said the campaign will appear on the "Indiegogo" website in early 2014. To receive updates, go to facebook.com/savethewebster.
HERO is also looking for more board members and for businesses to help with the project's capital campaign. Brown can be reached at the Webster City Chamber of Commerce at 832-2564.