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Holly faces money crunch

Work on the Holly Theatre could grind to a halt by the end of the year unless $3.4 million in donations can be found to pay for the rest of the renovations.

Worse still, a delay in completing the Holly by the end of 2020 could jeopardize federal dollars that have been earmarked for the project.

“The timing is very urgent,” said Randy McKay, executive director of Jefferson Live! “We won’t be going forward until we have the funds.”

Despite the dire warnings, McKay stood in front of the Holly Thursday when workers installed new heating and air conditioning units on the roof.

This phase of the Holly rebuild is for the front portion of the building, which includes office areas, a ticket and lobby area, a VIP lounge and another lounge area on the second floor. Jefferson Live!, which runs the Holly and Cascade Theatre in Redding, will move its offices into the Holly by the end of the year.

The 1,000-seat auditorium area still is largely unfinished.

McKay said the Holly qualifies for $2 million in federal tax credits, which will begin expiring at the end of 2020 unless the estimated $11 million project is substantially complete.

If $3.4 million isn’t raised by January and the Holly no longer qualifies for the federal funds at the end of next year, McKay said additional fundraising efforts would be needed to get the project finished.

He said he’s been looking for pledges from residents who want to help the Holly rebuild. He said he could accept pledges even if they are promised five years from now. Go to HollyTheatre.org for more information.

For less than $14 a month, a local resident can sponsor a $500, $1,000 or $1,500 seat in the theater that would have the donor’s name on it.

Workers for Hamcon Builders of Eagle Point have been concentrating on the front portion of the 1930 building designed by renowned local architect Frank Clark. Additional work on the roof was necessary to accommodate the newer air conditioners.

The Holly renovation started in 2012 with a facade remodel, but the project got derailed when an internal dispute broke out with Jefferson Public Radio, which originally bought the property, and Southern Oregon University.

Once built, the Holly auditorium will have 1,020 seats and be the largest theater venue in Southern Oregon.

Over the past eight years, the estimate to remodel the Holly has more than doubled.

Despite the delays, there’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes work, including the discovery of many lighting fixtures that local residents had salvaged when the Holly shut down in the 1980s. In addition, workers have recreated many of the decorative pieces inside the building that were damaged or lost.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

Heating and air conditioning units are installed Thursday at the Holly Theater. Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune