Neighbors help CV Theatre Guild get new roof

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild is getting a new roof in time for its 34th season and in part, it's thanks to neighboring businesses on W. Grand Ave.

The downtown theatre has a 50-year-old roof. Just last week, construction began on putting in a new roof. Construction is set to finish next week.

"It was literally put on in 1964 when this building was the Salvation Army but it was time because it is literally raining inside the theatre," said executive director of CVTG Ann Sessions.

She said the new roof comes at a heft price tag of $40,000. That's why many fundraising efforts are underway, including its 'Raise the Roof' campaign.

"We did have rehearsals with buckets because it was raining on stage," said Sessions.

Cue Marty Fisher-Blakeley, co-owner of Quality Management Services near Grand Ave. She's a fan and supporter of the Theatre Guild and had an idea to help out the theatre.

"Grand Avenue is not a big business district, we're like a small town business district and we realize the importance of keeping viable businesses as our neighbors and to do that we help each other," said Fisher-Blakeley.

The small business district is making a grand gesture. The West Grand Avenue Business Improvement District approved a $5,000 loan to go towards a new roof. To top it off, several businesses along Grand Ave. are going to help pay it off.

"We in the Grand Avenue Business District tax ourselves as a business improvement district and we use the money that we set aside then for improvement on the street that are good for everyone," said Fisher-Blakeley.

Sessions said if other businesses were in need, the Theatre Guild would also step up and help their neighbors out.

"I was very excited to hear that so many of our businesses and neighbors would be willing to come out and actively and show their support with money to help us put a new roof on the Grand Theatre," said Sessions.

Fisher-Blakeley said the theatre draws in crowds from out of town and it's good for businesses along W. Grand Ave.

"Community theater not only utilizes the talents of local people but it gives other areas residents a chance to be enlightened, uplifted to laugh to have a good time, to see theater they might not otherwise get to see," she said.

The Theatre Guild's fundraising efforts aren't over. On August 27th, there will be a Grand Evening on the Bridge. Dinner will be served on the historic Grand Ave. bridge for 100 to 150 people. Proceeds will benefit the Theatre Guild.

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