Arkansas State University Three Rivers received a grant of $872,003 from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) at its meeting on Wednesday, May 12. The grant will be used to begin Phase II of the Historic Ritz Theatre Restoration.
The council distributed $29.9 million to 17 projects that will restore and protect state-owned lands and property.
“We’ve seen a lot of changes to the exterior of the theatre over this last year during Phase I of the restoration, and we are excited about the progress made thus far,” Dr. Steve Rook, Chancellor of ASU Three Rivers stated. “While you may not see as much activity on the exterior of the theatre during this next phase, know that there is still lots of work being conducted on the interior of the theatre.”
Phase I consisted of roof demolition and repair followed by the installation of a new roof and awning anchor for the new marquee; the entrance was restored with original entry tile being discovered; restored the front doors to 1948 location and style, and exterior front wall tile was replaced.
During Phase II, the interior dividing wall between the two lower theatres will be removed and the balcony opened up to restore the three single theatres back to one open auditorium with a stage; the new marquee and blade sign will be fabricated and installed; and the mechanical/electrical room structure will be removed and replaced. Additionally, the exterior exit stair, fire protection/alarm systems, electrical systems, HVAC systems, and plumbing will be installed.
Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, who serves as secretary of the ANCRC said, “The ANCRC Trust Fund has funded over $425 million in projects since its first grants were made in 1989. Many important buildings and properties across Arkansas have been saved for future generations by the fund, and we are a better state for it.”
ANCRC has funded the restoration and preservation of such iconic properties as the Arkansas State Capitol, Old Main on the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville campus, Lakeport Plantation in Chicot County and the Johnny Cash Home in Dyess.
The Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) was established by Arkansas Act 729 of 1987. Its grants and trust fund are managed for the acquisition, management and stewardship of state-owned lands, or the preservation of state-owned historic sites, buildings, structures or objects which the ANCRC determines to be of value for recreation or conservation purposes. The properties are to be used, preserved and conserved for the benefit of present and future generations.