Nampa, ID - Pix Theatre’s new owner has big dreams
From the Idaho Press-Tribune:
The interior of the historic Pix Theatre in downtown Nampa is stripped bare and empty, save for some old promotional materials, construction equipment and a few piles of dirt.
Debbie Lasher-Hardy, a local real estate professional who bought the 70-year-old Pix in February for an undisclosed sum, appears to see it like an artist would a blank canvas with a history.
“It’s dear to my heart,” Lasher-Hardy said. “It was a theater that I group up with and attended.”
She realized she wanted to buy the Pix two years ago, she said.
“Every time that I would drive by and see that nothing had happened yet, I felt that it was my mission to make this thing happen,” Lasher-Hardy said. “And I know a lot of people in this community — worked with a lot — and I’m just going to reach out to them and ask them to come in and help, basically.”
Lasher-Hardy came on the scene on the heels of the nonprofit foundation that struggled for years to revive the downtown building.
The Pix Theatre Foundation was raising the $1.5 million necessary to revive the Pix when the roof collapsed in 2003. The roof was replaced in 2006, and from there the board members struggled to break even with fundraising costs, insurance, taxes and other expenses.
By December 2014, the foundation board members said the project needed new leadership and indicated a desire to sell the theater.
“We’re tired,” Pix Theatre Foundation President Debra Lindner said prior to stepping down. “We’ve done everything. We’ve been the committee heads. We’ve done the fundraising. We’ve gone down with a shovel and shoveled dirt. And we’ve wanted to. We’re not sorry about it, but people can only do so much for so long. We just need a boost. If the community speaks and wants this theater to be complete, now is the time for people to come forward and help it happen.”
Lasher-Hardy said some of the former board members are interested in being involved again, and she is considering what role they will play as she puts together her leadership team. On her list of members for the Pix Anew board is Steve Perotti, her pastor at First Christian Church in Nampa and a self-professed fan of the theater arts.
“There’s a huge opportunity for us as a community to make this happen again,” Perotti said.
As Lasher-Hardy showed the Idaho Press-Tribune around the dark and dusty Pix earlier this week, she talked about her plans for the future.
The new owner is optimistic about the public’s ability to band together to fix the Pix.
“My idea for fundraising is more to reach out to the community with all of their expertise, their professionalism on whatever they can give and would like to give,” Lasher-Hardy said.
She is also determined to find a way to bring in celebrities with local ties to pump up the effort.
Lasher-Hardy said she knows restoring the theater will take time. Ideally, though, she would love to see it ready to open in 2020 for the 40th anniversary of “Bronco Billy,” a 1980 film starring Clint Eastwood that was filmed in the Treasure Valley, partially in Nampa.
Eastwood “needs to hear this, so that he can come and fund it,” Lasher-Hardy said. She referenced other celebrities like Emmett native and “Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul, as well as Matt Damon, who recently came to Meridian for an advance screening of his new “Jason Bourne” film that served as a fundraiser for the Treasure Valley YMCA.
As for Lasher-Hardy’s image for the theater, the exact details have not been pinned down yet, but she talked about bringing back some of the original look and feel of the place. For one thing, she’s promising the return of the original popcorn machine.
One change, however, is that the stage will be extended out so the theater can be used for not just movies, but local stage productions, too. She wants to make the theater a place where “all types of art” can meet, a place where the community can learn and be proud to come.
“Let’s make them proud to keep our theatrical traditions alive!” Lasher-Harder wrote in a statement. “Bring the premiers of newly produced movies with our actors and actresses that have a love for Idaho!”
Story link, with photo gallery: http://www.idahopress.com/news/local/pix-theatre-s-new-owner-has-big-dreams/article_4e29c749-ca1d-57db-86c4-0e53a92d711c.html
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