Members of the Friends of the Egyptian Theatre are hoping enough money will come in so they can restore and reopen the old theater, complete with retail shops and restaurants, within a year.
Van Summerill, the Ogden group's vice president, said work has already begun on the restoration, and about $1.8 million is needed to complete the project."It's going to be fun work," Summerill said. "It's going to be exciting."
The old theater, in downtown Ogden on Washington Boulevard, was saved from the wrecking ball last week when bought for an undisclosed amount of money by a coalition including the Weber County Heritage Foundation and the Friends of the Egyptian Theatre.
The former owner, Dr. Ray Broadbent of Salt Lake City, was planning to tear the theater down if he couldn't sell the building by April 26.
Razing the theater brought controversy in Ogden because of the building's architecture. Built in 1924, the structure was designed with an Egyptian theme after the discovery of King Tut's tomb in Egypt.
While the Friends of the Egyptian Theatre are gathering donations to restore the building, the Ogden City Council is considering holding a bond election to help ease financial problems. Egyptian Theatre Board members were appointed last week, and the group is expected to make recommendations concerning the bond in the near future.
But Summerill said he would prefer that the city stay out of the project.
"Ideally, we feel that it would be best to keep it in the hands of a non-profit organization," Summerill said.
However, he said the group would except financial aid from the city if no private donations are forthcoming.
Summerill said money is trickling in. He said some people have been sending donations for as little as $1, and every little bit helps.
"Things are looking up in that area," he said.
Summerill said donations, which are tax deductible, can be mailed to the Egyptian Theatre Trust Account, Box 9936, Ogden, UT 94409, attention Bud Mitchell.