Muskogee Little Theatre to receive $5.5 milllon grant for a new downtown performing arts center

MUSKOGEE -- Last week, the City of Muskogee Foundation Board of Directors approved its 2013-14 grants for local organizations in the amount of $3.8 million

RELATED STORY: City of Muskogee Foundation gives $3.8 million in grants to nonprofit, municipal organizations

Among those to receive grants was Muskogee Little Theatre. The theater received a Quality of Life grant for a $5.5 million capitol building project.

"This is the largest single grant that the City of Muskogee Foundation has given in its short history," Coni Wetz, executive director for Muskogee Little Theatre, said.

The grant will go towards building a new state-of-the art performing arts center, which Wetz hopes will sit in the new Arts and Cultural district, near Three Rivers Museum and Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

"This is an unbelievable opportunity," Wetz said. "It is visionary of City of Muskogee foundation to have this vision that generates tourism and a gathering place where the community can walk to."

The new theater will be a story 14,500 square-foot building and will include a 250-seat main stage auditorium, a Black Box Theatre for youth and senior productions and a 2,000 square-foot lobby and public event space. The project is set to total about $6 million.

The funds are in the form of a challenge grant. Muskogee Little Theatre must raise the first $1 million in the next year in order to move forward with the capitol project.

"When that happens a year from now, we will be able to break ground. (The City of Muskogee Foundation is) helping us fundraise, and we have already raised a quarter of it."

With such success in the first week of fundraising, Wetz, along with the foundation board, believe the new Muskogee Little Theatre will be among the many successful projects coming to the city in the next few years.

"Huge bravos to our city for this kind of commitment," Wetz said.

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