State Theatre gets major donations

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Two big donations are pushing up the re-opening of the State Theatre in Downtown Sioux Falls.

On Wednesday, T. Denny Sanford and the city of Sioux Falls announced major contributions to the project.

“The State Theatre closed in 1991 and for the last 20 years Sioux Falls has been asking over and over again, when is that place going to open,” said president of the State Theatre Company, John Swedeen.

The answer is finally being revealed. During a press conference inside the old movie house, officials with the project announced movies will be playing again for the public in the Spring of 2020; less than one year from now.

One of the major gifts making this happen is from the city of Sioux Falls.

“If you look at 14th Street down to the Falls, there’s really only one real gap on Phillips and it’s this building. This had to get done,” said Mayor Paul TenHaken.

Mayor TenHaken says the $1.5 million will come from the city’s Entertainment Tax Fund, which is already in place. He believes investing in this part of the city will create an economic boost.

“Having a venue where people are going to be able to come downtown every single night, and be an economic development draw. And they’re going to eat, and they’re going to shop, and they’re going to have a drink, it’s going to be an absolute economic boon for downtown,” said TenHaken.

The other gift announced today was from Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, for $3.5 million.

“My heart and soul and appreciation goes out to all the people that have worked for so many years trying to keep this thing together and make it happen and so on and so forth. There’s been a lot of effort and a lot of money spent just keeping it alive,” said Sanford.

While these gifts will restore the main floor, and add some modern amenities with new seating and technology, there’s still more work to be done.

“We need to finish the balcony. We need to finish the second floor. We need to finish the third floor. So as they say in showbiz, it ain’t over till it’s over. We need to raise another $2.5 million to complete the building. So our fundraising efforts will be ongoing and we have a plan to raise those funds,” said Swedeen.

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