Funding for Bijou Theatre announced

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Funding for Bijou Theatre announced

Posted: 04/25/2005
Congressman John J. Duncan Jr. joined Mayor Bill Haslam and community leaders today to announce $571,608 in federal support for the restoration and preservation of Knoxville's 188-year-old Bijou Theatre.

Duncan presented Mayor Haslam and Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation President Bruce Hartmann with a ceremonial check to mark the occasion during a press conference on the theater's stage.

"Almost everyone in our community has fond memories of the Bijou," Duncan said. "I am pleased federal funding will assist this historic facility and preserve it for future generations. Mayor Haslam and Bruce Hartmann deserve tremendous credit for coming to the Bijou's aid at this critical time."

The Mayor is is leading a fundraising campaign to generate private support for the Bijou

"This contribution represents a significant step in securing the future of the Bijou Theatre," Haslam said. "Knoxville is fortunate to have Congressman Duncan's support for this historic venue that contributes to downtown's role as the cultural center of East Tennessee."

Duncan secured the funds in a federal spending measure, and HUD approved the theater's plan for disbursement this month. The federal contribution will be paired with an estimated $2.1 million from private sources to stabilize the theater and continue its operation.

Financial difficulties forced the Bijou's Board of Trustees to close the theater last year. Knoxville businessmen Fred Langley and Sam Furrow prevented a foreclosure on the theater's $731,000 mortgage by purchasing the debt from an Oregon bank in March.

The Theatre Foundation then agreed to take over management of the Bijou, and AC Entertainment now oversees the theater's daily operations.