In a special meeting on Monday, the Payne County Economic Development Authority approved a $15,000 grant for remodeling the Dunkin Theatre on Broadway street in Cushing.
Bruce Johnson, director of the Cushing Economic Development Foundation, submitted the application and authorized his foundation to be the pass-through entity to receive the grant.
Geoffrey Beasley and Greg Babinec from Dunkin Theatre, LLC were present to answer questions about the project.
Johnson said the City of Cushing was providing a $20,000 grant and the Cushing Economic Development Authority was providing a $5,000 grant for the project. A half-cent Cushing sales tax is also funding the development.
Johnson said conditions of the grants are that the theatre must be open by Jan. 1, 2020, and stay open for at least a year.
Beasley described the vision for downtown Cushing is to “focus on entertainment.” The theatre, which first opened in 1926, will provide live music and a retractable screen.
A movie could be shown with the screen retracting to allow a short vaudeville production to entertain the audience.
“We have a lot of talent in Oklahoma and we want to showcase it in our theatre,” Beasley said.
In addition to the theatre, an adjacent building will be converted to a pizzeria. Damage to the theatre building caused by a 2016 earthquake has already been repaired. Beasley is meeting with the architect and is optimistic the remaining work can be completed by Jan. 1.
The Payne County Commissioners, acting as trustees for the economic development authority, set a March 2, 2020, deadline for the grant funding to be completed.