NAMPA -- For more than a decade, The Pix Theatre, an old, 1940s-era movie theater has sat empty in downtown Nampa. Over the years, volunteers have been trying to restore and reopen it, but they've faced setbacks, due mostly to weather and money. Now, there's some good news financially and the project is moving ahead.
Every now and then, there's a little change on the outside The Pix. This weekend, it was a change to the marquee out front. Debra Lindner and her husband added a web address for the Pix Foundation to the front of the building. It's just a little reminder to the Nampa community: something big is going on inside the theater's old doors many remember being inside.
"Many people will say 'Oh, I got my first kiss in the Pix, or we used to skip school and run down there in the afternoon and sneak upstairs,'" Lindner said.
Lindner, whose father helped construct the theater in 1946, is one of many working to restore The Pix. She is the current president of the Pix Foundation, the non-profit group working on the restoration.
"Nampa is tied to the Pix, and the Pix is a wonderful community project that Nampa really needs to own as a community," Lindner said.
In 1999, the building, which at the time was a dollar movie theater, closed. In 2002, the Pix Foundation took over the building with a dream: a 300-seat performing and visual arts venue.
The first big setback to the plan happened just a year into renovating, when a storm tore a hole in the roof in the summer of 2003.
"It destroyed everything in the theater," Lindner said. "There was nothing left in the theater that could be used. It took a doable project and turned it into a massive project with the demolition that had to be done."
Lindner believes the theater's renovation would be complete already had that storm not delayed them. The cost to repair the roof was around $300,000.
Since that storm, there has been progress, most of which you'd only know about by going inside. Volunteers, including some inmates from the Sheriff's Office, have gutted the inside down to the concrete floor.
Financially, The Pix is getting a break too. The bank recently decided to cut the theater's mortgage in half. The foundation just needs $65,000 to pay it off. To do that, the foundation has started the 650 Club, looking for 650 people to give $100 each. Once the building is paid for, Lindner says getting the theater put back together will come easier.
"If we can do that, we have lots of volunteers and lots of material donations available to us that I think we can really start making some progress that will be surprising to the community," Lindner said.
In addition to the 650 Club fundraiser for the mortgage, there's a gala next Saturday, October 15, at the Masonic Event Center. For $25, gala-goers will get dinner and entertainment, which will include some special look-a-like movie characters like Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe.
There is also an online auction going on now. Click here to see that auction website.