Renovation Begins! - December 2018




HWBT December Newsletter 2018


The Blade Comes Down –The West Bend sign that spells the city name with light bulbs is going to get a face-lift. Like a lot of older creatures, she could use a few tucks and lifts. Poblocki Sign Company took “her” down for restoration Thursday, to a lot of fanfare and press coverage. She will be refurbished with new soft white LED lights, electrics and a paint job that matches the original colors from when it was created in 1929. When reconstituted, the iconic West bend sign will burn as bright as ever before. Reinstallation is scheduled for next summer.


HWBT New Director – Rick Fox, senior Vice President at West Bend Mutual Insurance, has been elected to HWBT board of directors. He has previous experience on the board of Riveredge Nature Center, where he was treasurer, and currently serves on the board of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and the Washington County Humane Society board of directors. Fox, who has been at WBMI for 18 years, is in charge of risk management; He is an actuary and holds a BS degree with Honors in Mathematics - University of Michigan.


Historic Registration – We have final approval from National Parks Service of Part I of the two-part historic registration process. Part II (Description of Rehabilitation) has been submitted to Wisconsin Historical Society for approval before sending to the U. S. Parks Service for final approval. It’s been a grinding process, but we are getting close to the ultimate green light. Being on the state and federal historical registries qualifies us to apply for tax credits at both levels.


State Grant Requested -- HWBT and the City of West Bend have completed the initial application for a Community Development Investment grant for $250,000 to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Again, the application is a complicated process. We are optimistic about winning the grant, partly because the application goes through city hall, which has crossed every “T” and dotted every “I.” That included a supporting resolution passed by the common council.


Fund Raising Going Well – Thanks again to a range of donors who have stepped forward to give the restoration project a definitive path forward. We now have line of sight to our overall goal. Several significant gifts came in recently.


Artwork Treasures Uncovered – The Evergreen Architectural Art, a nationally respected historic paint analysis and restoration company, peeled back some old paint inside our theatre and discovered beautiful, colored stenciled art works everywhere. What a find! HWBT contracted Evergreene to do the assessment.

Sample image from his report:


Area A of the proscenium; the colors for each element were matched on-site using the Munsell system.


Jeff Greene, CEO, described his findings in his report, “West Bend Theatre is an ideal candidate for restoration. The painted decoration within is the West Bend Theatre’s unique and character-defining feature. Despite few three-dimensional ornaments, the theater is exuberantly decorated with paint—this is what gives the theater its personality and identity, differentiating West Bend from other Art Deco theatres.”

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