DEED TRANSFER –The deed of ownership to the Lincoln Theatre was transferred last Monday, Dec. 31 during a brief ceremony at Attorney Stan Kimble’s office in downtown Limon. Pictured here (l-r) are: top row – Pat Vice, Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation Inc.; Your Community Foundation board members Cortney Davis, Jim Herron, Linda Hawthorne and Mike Liggett; Joe Kiely, Assistant Town Manager and foundation advisor; Town Manager Dave Stone: bottom row – foundation board members Carla Weeks and Terri Spencer; theatre owners Larry and Marlene Steele; Ryan Kaufman, new theatre operator; and Attorney Stan Kimble.
By Will Bublitz
To save the Lincoln Theatre in Limon from permanently closing, its deed of ownership was formally transferred to a local nonprofit organization last week.
Larry and Marlene Steele signed over the building’s deed to Your Community Foundation in a ceremony at Attorney Stan Kimble’s office on Monday, Dec. 31. The Steeles have owned and operated the local theatre for the past 28-1/2 years, They donated the theatre to the local nonprofit foundation at no cost.
The theatre, which has been in operation since 1938, is temporarily closed at present. The last movie showings under the Steeles’ ownership were held Friday through Sunday, Dec. 28-30.
Plans are to reopen the Lincoln Theatre during the third weekend of January. Limon resident Ryan Kaufman has been selected by the Board of Directors of Your Community Foundation as its new operator. After the deed was transferred during December 31 ceremony, Kaufman also signed a lease agreement with the foundation.
The Steeles, who owned the Lincoln Theatre since 1984, decided to donate it to the foundation for two reasons. The first reason is they both had reached retirement age. The second reason is that the entire movie industry is converting all of its projection systems from film to digital by the middle of 2013.
“It was the right time for us to retire,” Marlene said. “We decided to donate it because in all good conscience, we could not sell it to anybody because they would then have to put out another $100,000 to convert its projection system to digital.”
The Steeles not only handed over the ownership of the theatre building at no charge, but included all of its equipment.
“We’re donating everything including the Braveheart banner because it belongs in the theatre,”
Marlene said. “The only thing I’m keeping are the pictures that I drew of actors and actresses that we displayed in the lobby. If I left them, my kids would have a fit because they want them.”
After owning and operating the Lincoln Theatre for nearly three decades, the Steeles said they are leaving it with mixed emotions.
“We want to thank everyone for their support over the years,” Marlene said. “We’re going to miss everybody, especially the kids. We’d like to think that we’ve had a positive impact on their lives. They all meant so much to us.”
While they have signed over the deed, the Steeles are not through with the theatre quite yet. Over the next few weeks, they will be assisting Kaufman, the theatre’s new operator.
“We’ll be helping Ryan,” Marlene said. “He’s got a lot to learn about running the film projector including how to break down the films, put cue marks on film and thread the film through the projector. We’ll also be teaching him about how to order movies and how to handle advertising from the studios. He’s also got to learn how to run and clean the popcorn machine and soda pop dispenser. There’s a lot to learn about running a theatre, but we’ll be there to help him.”
Kaufman, who is well known in the local area as a sports and special events announcer on
Internet/radio broadcasts, said he is excited to be taking over the operation of the Lincoln Theatre.
“To say that I’m excited is not a strong enough word,” he said. “This is unbelievable. This theatre was a big part of my growing up here in Limon. To be the one who will now be running it is pretty awesome.”
Kaufman said he plans to work hard to help ensure the future success of the theatre.
“When I heard the foundation was looking for someone to operate the Lincoln Theatre, I had to throw my hat in,” he said. “I did it because I think I could do well at this. I’ve got some ideas on how to enhance things.”
Kaufman is leasing the Lincoln Theatre from Your Community Foundation, which is its new owner. That local nonprofit organization was formed last year in response to the announcement of the theatre’s closing at the end of 2012. It put together a eight-member Board of Directors, most of whom were present at last week’s ceremony.
“The signing over of the deed was just the first step without which there would no longer be a Lincoln Theatre,” said Joe Kiely, Limon’s Assistant Town Manager and advisor to the foundation. “Now we have the opportunity as a community to ensure the theatre’s viability into the future.”
Kiely said the foundation believes the selection of Kaufman as the theatre’s new operator was a good decision.
“Ryan is interested in media, has good ideas and is a young guy who is excited about learning to operate the theatre,” he said. “And it’s great that Marlene and Larry will be helping to teach him everything he needs to know to get started.”
Your Community Foundation’s work to save the Lincoln Theatre is not over with last week’s signing of the deed transfer and lease.
“The next step is that we need to raise the funds for the conversion to a digital projection system,” Kiely said. “The cost of the digital conversion is estimated to be at least $100,000. The foundation has already raised about $20,000 through contributions and pledges.”
To help find the rest of the money, Your Community Foundation is currently seeking grants, many of which require local matching funds. To get those matching funds, the local foundation is asking the public to make tax-deductible contributions to the “Lincoln Theatre Project.”
To ensure those contributing to the project receive their tax deductions, Your Community Foundation has partnered with the Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation, Inc., which is already a a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization as well as an eligible Enterprise Zone Contribution Project within the East Central Enterprise Zone. Your Community Foundation entered into this partnership because it is a new nonprofit organization that is still waiting for the finalization its 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service.
Those making contributions to the “Lincoln Theatre Project” will receive both federal and state tax credits. As an Enterprise Zone project, cash contributions are eligible for a state tax credit of 25 percent of the value of the contribution. For example, a $1,000 contribution receives a $250 state tax credit.
Any in-kind contributions for an Enterprise Zone project is eligible for a state tax credit of 12.5 percent of the value of the contribution. For example, a $1,000 contribution will receive a $125 state tax credit.
State tax credits many be carried forward for a period of up to five years.
To make an eligible contribution, an individual or business should write their check payable to “ECCOG” and write a notation on the check to “Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation, Inc. - Lincoln Theater Project.” In addition, the contributor must complete a DR Form 0075, Certification of Qualified Enterprise Zone Contribution.
The check and completed DR Form 0075 should then be mailed to: East Central Council of Governments, P.O. Box 28, Stratton, CO 80836.
For more information about the contributions, contact Patricia Vice at (719) 775-9070 or Joe Kiely at (719) 775-2346.