ENTERPRISE — Enterprise’s iconic OK Theatre is to be the recipient of part of a $615,000 grant in federal funds received by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for the preservation of historic theaters, according to a Monday, June 29 press release.
Darrell Brann, who owns the theater with wife, Christi, said he hadn’t seen the press release, but was looking forward to it. He said he had applied for the maximum of $100,000 a single establishment could apply for and he expects to receive about $85,000 of that amount. He’s now beginning the process of arranging contractors to do the work.
Brann said he hopes to restore the theater to its century-old look and although the original had no marquee, he wants to give it one that would fit in 1919.
“One of the goals is to bring back the marquee … that’s a little more appropriate to the time period,” he said.
The press release said work to the OK will be to restore the façade and store fronts, update the concessions area and add a bar service area.
Brann said some work has been done to the concessions area, which he hopes to complete, as well as add handicapped access.
The theater has been closed along with other businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Brann hopes to reopen in early September. At that time, he expects to only open to half capacity to allow for social distancing.
“We wouldn’t be able to cover expenses (at half capacity), but we still might do it,” he said.
He has received a large amount of community support for his efforts to restore and reopen the theater.
“We’re so grateful for the community support,” he said. ”I figured if we got the grant, it’d have to be because of all the wonderful letters of support we’ve gotten.”
Portions of the $615,000 federal grant also are going to theaters in Dallas, Coos Bay, Lakeview, North Bend, Newberg, Vale and The Dalles.