The Ogden City Council is getting more and more involved with the financial backing to save the Egyptian Theatre more than it probably wanted to.
First, the council Thursday night agreed to loan the Weber County Heritage Society $30,000 so the group would have enough money for the initial $100,000 down payment.Second, the council will meet Monday morning to decide if it wants to put up collateral so the Heritage Society can get a $200,000 line of credit from a private business group in order to meet the second payment next month if a national loan doesn't come through.
The city got involved with the old movie palace in downtown Ogden after the owner, Dr. Ray Broadbent, went before the city's Landmark Commission seeking a demolition permit.
The Salt Lake plastic surgeon has been trying to sell the old building for nearly three years.
Some residents want to save the building because of its unique architecture. The building was designed with an Egyptian theme in 1924 after the discovery of King Tut's tomb.
A group known as the Friends of the Egyptian Theatre has been trying to raise the necessary funds to purchase, renovate and operate the theater, but has thus far come up short on funds.
The Heritage Society thought they had bought the building last month, but they too were short of money some $30,000, to be exact.
Broadbent has threatened to sell the theater to another buyer for more money if the Heritage Society falls short of funds again. He said the new buyer also wants to tear the old building down.
Broadbent has been before the Landmark Commission twice seeking a demolition permit, and has been turned down both times. Four members of the commission also sit on the board of the Heritage Foundation.
He said he would wait until Friday to get the money from the Heritage Society before selling to the unnamed buyer.
So former Mayor A. Stephen Dirks went before the council to get a $30,000 loan, and got it. His wife, Barbara Dirks, who now sits on the council, voted in favor of her husband's proposal.
Next, Dirks went before the Ogden Industrial Development Corp. Friday morning to see if that group of private business people would lend the Heritage Society money to meet next month's payment if a loan from the National Trust for Historic Preservation doesn't come through.
John Lindquist, corporation president, said the group agreed to extend a line of credit for $200,000 if the city would put up the collateral. He said the charter prohibits the corporation from giving money to private groups, so the city has to help.
Broadbent said Friday afternoon that he did not know what deals were being made to buy the theater. He said he had not talked to Dirks or any city officials.
"I've not been contacted about it," he said. "I'm waiting to hear from them."
When asked if he would extend the Friday deadline to sell to the Heritage Society, Broadbent replied, "We've been cooperating for a long time, but we're not going to wait forever."
Mayor A. Clifford Goff said Friday that he will have to get the council together Monday morning to decide if the city should get involved further.
He said it was suggested that the council put up 35 acres of land at the Ogden Municipal Airport for collateral, but the city would need permission from the Federal Aviation Administration and that could take months.