O-Kay project

Restoration of former theatre approaching a crucial period

Saturday is the day for the Kay Theatre’s big annual fund-raiser, a 5K race through the streets of Rockdale. It’s called the Run for the Kay and you can read about it on page 1A.

The project to restore the Kay, built when Harry Truman was president, is entering a crucial time. It’s kind of like the golfer who has made four good shots on a par-5 hole, but still finds he’s one good-sized putt away from successfully completing the hole.

The Kay effort has been going on for a while and a lot has been accomplished. Come out Saturday and see how far the volunteers restoring the old theatre have come.

It’s especially meaningful if you remember how it looked after a half-century of neglect. What’s been accomplished so far is pretty amazing.

The theatre looks great, but the goal is not to just make the Kay another pretty face but to put it to work. In order for it to be a performing arts venue, which has been the purpose all along, it needs a stage, extensive lighting and sound systems and seating for 200.

Oh, and there’s air conditioning for the crowd. It’s going to be expensive. There’s about 15 tons of capacity to install and cool an old Quonset hut that was constructed when air conditioning was open the windows and turn on a rattling old floor fan.

But just imagine sitting through a play some July night without it.

The Kay already looks great from outside and it’s well on the way to joining the former I&GN Depot as one of our town’s iconic landmarks.

In fact, city planners already envision the theatre and the depot as the two “anchors” of Main Street in a revitalization effort for downtown Rockdale.

Sounds like an o-KAY idea. But first we’ve got to get the project completed..

See you at the Kay on Saturday.—M.B.

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2013-09-26 digital edition

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