Kay restoration will put ‘heads in beds’ some day

Dear editor,

After spending the last eight years as a member of the board of directors and treasurer of the Kay Theater Foundation I must admit to being a bit puzzled by the comments from city council member, Joyce Dalley

She seems to be concerned that the Kay Foundation continually asks for money from the city-managed hotel/motel tax fund.

The more important question ought to be where has the money already collected come from and to what use has it been put.

We certainly appreciate the help we’ve already received from the hotel/motel tax it is not our only source of support.

Little of the progress made thus far would have been possible were it not for organizations such as the Rockdale Masonic Lodge, Perry & Perry Builders, Bechtel Corporation and the blood, sweat and tears of the Kay board and other volunteers.

We are about half finished. The original theater f loor has been leveled, the grounds are now properly drained, the front facade has been rebuilt and the interior front one third of the building has been 95 percent restored lacking only some code-required doors.

The work ahead will be almost exclusively devoted to the theater proper including air conditioning, heating, electrical, stage sound and lighting, insulation and interior walls.

As was pointed out by Gary Griesbach (Municipal Development District chair) in the same meeting, what occurs from here on is distinctly different from what has happened over the past eight years.

We can no longer “phase” the restoration to match incoming funds as we’ve done in the past. The potential use of the Kay as a public facility is reaching a fever pitch. There have been numerous requests for the Kay which cannot be entertained until basic code requirements have been met.

We have four emergency exit doors to be installed. These must be made of steel with code-correct, full handicap accessibility. We expect each to cost upwards of $1,000. Installation should allow us to begin limited use of the Kay as early as this fall.

This assumes the weather cooperates because there remains the cost of installing 20 tons of air conditioning and heating.

It’s true, thus far we’ve probably not added any “ heads in beds” but then who would have expected anyone to show up here for a weekend watching the Kay being restored?

What the Kay does represent is a historically unique facility designed to give our citizens something otherwise available only in major metropolitan areas.

Rockdale already offers several annual events such as the Fair, Tejas Festival and September garage sale but nothing that can be utilized like the Kay Theater were it up and running.

Perhaps we can give people a reason to spend the night.

Dave Ogee

Treasurer, Kay Theater Foundation

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2013-10-24 digital edition

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