Observer staff

The Liberty Theatre Foundation received a sizable grant recently that will help restore the theatre to its original glory.

According to a press release from the foundation, the organization, which is responsible for the restoration and operation of the Liberty Theatre on Adams Avenue in La Grande, received $100,000 from Travel Oregon.

“The $100,000 is not designated (for specific uses), which is a blessing, as things are fluid right now, so having flexibility makes it so much better and effective,” said Tom Farnham, administration manager of the foundation, in an email to The Observer. “This is part of the overall Phase III budget to bring the theatre to a state of utility. The Travel Oregon grant award was the perfect amount at the perfect time.”

The grant for the theatre was one of 12 in its category to go toward projects that represent Travel Oregon’s vision of “a better life for Oregonians through strong, sustainable local economies,” according to the release.

“These grant dollars are really wonderful for our organization and the community we intend to serve when we reopen the theatre,” Michael Jaeger, Liberty Theatre Board Chairman, stated in the release.

The grant from Travel Oregon is one of many recent awards to the Liberty Theatre Foundation. According to the release, over the last year, Oregon Community Foundation awarded the organization $20,000; the Oregon Arts Commission granted $200,000; the Wildhorse Foundation awarded $7,500; James F. Miller Foundation awarded $20,000; Northwest Farm Credit Services awarded $1,500; and the Union County Cultural Enrichment awarded $500.

“This Travel Oregon grant award is pivotal in the progress of the Liberty Theatre toward a state of utility,” Jaeger continued in the release. “Final plans adhering to historical standards are being completed. The next work phase of restoration is commencing in August and (the) Liberty can now plan further ahead to complete the project. This is a huge boost to the Liberty effort.”

Read the full story in Friday's Observer