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Princess seeks $72,000 from city to match federal grant

By Martin Burkey
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2441

Princess Theatre officials asked the Decatur City Council on Monday for $72,000 to match a federal grant for continued renovations of the downtown landmark.

Randy Mummert, chairman of the theater's board of directors, said the $72,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would be used to complete additional restrooms for men and women in the new lobby, build a serving pantry and a new concessions area.

Mummert said the work will cost about $200,000. His board hopes to raise about $50,000 in private donations.

'A great plan for the city'

"We feel this is a great plan for the city to be involved in," he said. "We've worked hard to find money for the master plan that started in 1998."

Community Development Department officials said the grant does not require a local match. Mummert noted that the Princess is a city asset and that Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, has secured about $363,000 to date to support renovations.

Councilman Gary Hammon asked if the city's contribution could be spaced over the expected three-year period of the grant. Mummert said that was probably possible.

Council members tentatively said they support the grant on a three-year basis and scheduled a vote for their Dec. 19 business meeting.

Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts officials said the city's match would serve as a challenge to the community for the Princess to secure private donations. In 2001, the completed $6 million in renovations that included restoration of the art deco facade and marquee, the adjoining building's facade, a new roof, upgraded equipment, a new stage and dressing rooms.

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