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BY MARLYS WEAVER
GOSHEN -- In October 1959, Earlene and Roger Nofziger went on their first date. They sat in the balcony of the Goshen Theater and watched "The Legend of Tom Dooley" and a Three Stooges movie before Earlene had to be back on Goshen College's campus at 11 p.m.
Though it took a few dates for them to realize their connection, the Nofzigers were married the next year and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year.
Since that time, Earlene Nofziger has taken on a new interest in the Goshen Theater.
"It really is truly a part of downtown," Nofziger said. "It's been there a long time and has a long history."
Nofziger and several others in the community are hoping to revitalize the historic theater.
Nate Butler, venue manager for the Goshen Theater, said the last work done on the building was about 12 years ago, but that was mostly superficial, such as carpet, paint and electrical work.
He would like to see the theater upgraded so it could handle Broadway-style productions, host big-name bands and screen live film productions. These types of events would require world-class audio and technical equipment.
Downtown Goshen Inc. has applied for a state grant to do a feasibility study on rehabbing the facility.
The project would include the theater itself, the upstairs space, the lobby and the Menno Travel building, which was part of the original theater complex, according to Nofziger, a member of the task force for the grant and a volunteer for the Goshen Historical Society.
The city will find out late in February if it is awarded the grant. The study would take about 90 days to complete. Business planners, contractors and engineers would assess the structure, estimating time and money involved in a renovation project.