Negotiations for Goshen Theater wrapping up as group prepares for capital campaign

Non-profit ogranization looking ahead to raising funds as they near the purchase of the Goshen Theater

Posted on Oct. 29, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Oct. 29, 2013 at 2:15 p.m.

GOSHEN – The non-profit hoping to purchase the Goshen Theater is in fundraising mode to raise the required amount and the organization’s president is confident they’ll meet the end-of-year deadline.

Gina Leichty, president of Goshen Theater Inc., said the group is still in negotiations with the building’s current owner, the Downtown@8:08 church, regarding the final purchase price but said that process should be wrapped up in the coming weeks.

While negotiations continue, Goshen Theater Inc. is also in the process of raising the funds needed to actually make the acquisition.

Without providing a specific price for the building itself, Leichty said the amount the group would like to raise to cover both the cost of the building and limited operations for a two-year period remains $300,000.

The church and Goshen Theater Inc. entered into a memorandum of understanding on April 1 that gave the organization until the end of this year to raise the necessary funds for the acquisition.

If for some reason the funds could not be raised by the deadline, Leichty said the church would then be free to put the theater on the open market.

But she added that is an unlikely scenario, saying she’s confident the money will come in to at least finalize the purchase.

“(The church) has indicated they’d really like to work and collaborate with us to purchase the building,” Leichty said.

It’s a busy time for Goshen Theater Inc., as it is also in the preliminary stages of planning for a long-range capital campaign, which the group hopes will cover the costs of improvements in the building.

Through money received from the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Goshen Theater Inc. has been able to prepare a feasibility study for long-term plans that will help shape the capital campaign and the schedule of improvements going forward.

A consultant has also been brought on board to help administer the study.

The study, beginning next spring, will seek to assess what funds the organization can expect for the project and will include interviews with various community stakeholders, Leichty said.

After the study has been concluded, further fundraising will begin and the group will also apply for tax credits and grants.

The project remains on-schedule, with a construction-related timeline set to commence in 2015 and conclude in 2016.

The Goshen Theater will likely be shut down most of the time for at least the next couple years while Goshen Theater Inc. continues to check fundraising, marketing and construction tasks off its list.

Leichty said that until Goshen Theater Inc. can secure enough funding where the organization can hire a staff, the Goshen Theater will be open only on a limited, by-request basis.

However, the theater will still host two First Fridays events this year before Goshen Theater Inc. takes over.

Diversity Day activities will be Friday and in December, the Goshen High School theater department will use the facility to perform “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”

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