Topeka, Kan. – The Historic Jayhawk Theatre of Kansas is closer to its goal of viability with a Historic Sites for Heritage Tourism grant award approved by the Transient Guest Committee of the Topeka City Council in the amount of $42,400. On Oct. 24, the committee voted to award the aging 1926 theater the monies to help stave off structural deterioration.
The committee is chaired by Larry Wolgast, with members Sylvia Ortiz and Denise Everhart. The funds were ultimately given above the Historic Sites for Heritage Tourism Committee’s recommended amount.
“Additional revenue was available from the transient guest tax, and the Historic Jayhawk State Theatre had requested a larger amount than the Heritage Tourism Committee had awarded to take care of emergency repair work that should be done immediately to preserve the integrity of the building,” said Wolgast.
Doug Jones, facilities chairperson of the Jayhawk State Theatre board of directors, spearheaded the grant application process.
“I am thrilled that the City of Topeka has shown confidence and support for the renovation of the theater,” said Jones.
The monies will be used for an electrical service evaluation and repair, and for HVAC work to bring heating and cooling control to the theater to alleviate further deterioration of the infrastructure and ornate plaster. The theater has been vacant since May 1976 but is open for historical tours.
The Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas was placed on the national register of historic places in 1974, was designated by the legislature as the official state theater of Kansas in 1993 and is under the stewardship and protection of the Historic Jayhawk Theatre, Inc., a 501c(3) charitable organization.
The Jayhawk Theatre is currently raising funds through its campaign, “Take Your Seat,” which is attempting to appeal to businesses and individual donors to provide matching funds to qualify for historic grants and tax credits.