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1ST SOURCE BANK DONATES $50,000 TO THE REES THEATRE PROJECT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — 1st Source Bank recently donated $50,000 to support the rehabilitation of the Rees Theatre in downtown Plymouth. The project, which is projected to be completed in 2020, will bring the Theatre up to current code requirements so that the space can be utilized by the community.

            “1st Source recognizes the positive impact having a space like the Rees Theatre can have on our local community,” states Connie Lemler, Community Region President for 1st Source Bank. “It is important to re-invest in our downtown areas, and to preserve landmarks that have meant so much to the people here. It will also be a great luxury to have a space like this for families and businesses to enjoy right here in Plymouth.”

            Once completed, the Rees Theater will serve as community space for events such as: concerts, theatrical performances, film screenings, seminars, workshops, exhibits, wedding and other receptions.

            The gift was received by project co-chairs Donna Pontius and Randy Danielson.  Danielson stated, “A gift in this amount is truly appreciated and has instilled confidence in the project committee that our goals will be met to ensure that construction will be complete for an 80th Anniversary celebration of The REES.”

 

YEAR END SUPPORT FOR THE REES

Community involvement is a key component to the success of The REES Project and that has been evident throughout this capital campaign as a Regional Cities match was reached this fall and with sights set on attaining the overall goal of $3.46MM in 2019.  Two separate star level gifts are being announced today from two well recognized names in the financial market.

 

The combined offices of Edward Jones came together in support of The REES Project and the entire community with a Star Level gift of $10,000.  These local financial advisors are five of now 17,000 who serve the U.S. and Canadian market since Edward D. Jones opened its doors in downtown St. Louis in 1922.  Dan Schmelter became the 200th Financial Advisor with the firm and opened his office in Plymouth in 1977, setting the foundation for Marshall County and Plymouth.  Dan recruited John Chamberlin in July of 1999, who then opened the office downtown.  Edward Jones’ presence continued to grow as Mark Bishopp, who started in Greenfield in 1997, came to Plymouth occupying the 3rd office off Pioneer Drive and U.S. 30.  Further expansion occurred in 2010 when Craig Wilson moved into the downtown office.  Dan then recruited his son-in-law, Russ Kietzman in 2011 who then assumed responsibility of Dan’s office when he retire in 2014. (Dan and his wife Nancy were also lead supporters of The REES.)  The roots of Edward Jones had grown quite deeply but help was still needed to serve all clients, so Todd Clady opened the 5th office on the south side of Plymouth in 2015.  Senior advisor John Chamberlin said of the group; “We are all very grateful for the community’s support as our presence has grown over the years.  The REES Theatre project is something we can help with to show our support for downtown Plymouth and those who will get to enjoy it over the years to come.”

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Key Bank has had a presence in Plymouth since …. when it acquired the former… The local branch has been managed by Plymouth native Greg Compton since....  On hand for the Star Level gift of $25,000. was Michael Lugli, Market President in the South Bend office and Compton.  The supportive gift is the result of a KeyBank Foundation grant application submitted by the REES Project Committee earlier this year.  Key makes philanthropic investments in organizations and programs that prepare individuals for thriving futures.  The Foundation’s mission is advance through its three funding priorities – Neighbors, Education, Workforce – and Community Service. “In keeping with KeyCorp’s fundamental support of education and community service, this gift is given to honor the memory and commitment of longtime Plymouth music educator Bob Pickell.” said Compton.  Co-chair Randy Danielson responded; “This gift is yet another example of the community’s overall support in this effort to save a beloved landmark that has become a catalyst for even greater downtown investment.”

NO LUMP OF COAL FOR BELOVED REES

Support from many have propelled The REES Project forward in a short period of time but many more will be needed to take it to completion in 2020.

    Project co-chairs; Randy Danielson and Donna Pontius and the entire REES Project Committee express great appreciation for the many gifts pledged and given to date in not only saving a landmark structure but assuring its further success as a venue that brings vibrancy to the community and Marshall County area.  “But we are not there yet.” clarified Danielson. “Our match was met to capture a $300,000. Regional Cities Initiative grant but the reality is we remain about one million dollars away from reaching our established goal of $3.46MM. This is not only needed to further interior renovations but as well, fund a permanent endowment to ensure the continued success of The REES.”

 

    Work continued in November to delaminate the interior surfaces of a conjoined structure some of which was built in 1865 and the remainder in 1939.  “Peeling away these layers of history will allow us to see the structure for what it is so that when we reach the bidding process all will be exposed eliminating a great deal of assumptions.” commented Pontius.  

 

    A known structural problem within a portion of the 1939 foundation will need to be stabilized this spring using a helical pier system and then re-building a portion of masonry on the northeast corner prior to the installation of a new roof system.  “This will ensure the building envelope is sound and protected.” said Brent Martin who serves as the project architect. “Overall we are finding this building to be very sound, with tons of concrete and a timber truss roof system that will support any modern day equipment load for heating and cooling.” Preserved are the original blueprints created by well-respected Plymouth architect Alvis O’Keefe who was hired by Stewart and Opal Rees in July of 1939 to create what was billed as one of the finest rural community movie palaces in all of Indiana and possibly the Midwest boasting the first of its kind mother’s room for fussy babies.  O’Keefe brought this project together in a period of nine months and a budget of $75,000 for an opening in February of 1940. The projected re-construction of this art deco space is $2.86MM.

 

    “When you think of downtown Plymouth, it is hard to imagine the view without including The REES Theatre.  The bright, shining marquee has been a fundamental anchor of our hometown for decades when many others have completely disappeared.” said Pontius.

 

    The REES Project Committee is spending a great deal of time researching energy efficient systems that are environmentally friendly and LEED driven (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) throughout this restoration to assure its long term viability.

 

    The REES Theatre Inc. is an established 501(c)3, not-for-profit where 100% of your gift will become an investment in further economic development through the arts, education and celebratory events.  Capture the season of giving in partnership with the Marshall County Community Foundation and place a gift amount into a non-permanent fund that has been established for the restoration effort or a permanent endowment fund that will remain to assist with ongoing operational costs.   Payable to: REES Theater Fund, c/o MCCF, P.O. Box 716, Plymouth, IN 46563 or online at: WWW.REESPROJECT.COM

REES Theatre met the goal

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The Rees  Project Committee, the group behind the efforts to move towards the renovation and repurpose of the theater announced the 1.5MM goal to secure the $300,000 Regional Cities matching grant was met. The community has shown their continuing support, there were still donations being taken at the Marshall County Museum as of 4:00 Wednesday. 

The first stage milestone has been met, it took eight months to reach the goal which puts us closer to the start of the renovation and the anticipated goal of a grand reopening in 2020, which will be the Theater’s 80th Anniversary. Organizers hope to have all work completed by spring or summer 2020. Fundraising will continue through the end of 2018 and 2019 to raise the balance of 3.64 million which includes an Endowment fund. 

The committee would like to thank the community again for their continuing vision in what The REES Theatre can be again!

Organizers: Friday event for Rees raised about $150K

PLYMOUTH

Organizers behind the effort to save the Rees Theater have surpassed the $1 million mark in their quest to raise $1.5 million before the end of the month.

The timing is critical.

If the organizers raise the $1.5 million before Oct. 31, they will qualify for a matching $300,000 grant through the Regional Cities Iniative.

Friday’s “Puttin’ on the Rees” was a success, with 300 attending the sold-out event at Christo’s Banquet Center, 800 E. Lincoln Highway, according to Randy Danielson, a member of the committee trying to restore and repurpose the theater.

Along with dinner, attendees had a chance to bid on items during both a live and silent auction.

Former Plymouth resident Mark Neidig served as the evening’s emcee.

“(He) delighted the crowd as he sang three songs selected for the event,” Danielson said late Sunday. “Student members of the Plymouth High School speech, theatre and choir showcased what will be possible on The Bob Pickell Performing Arts Stage at The Rees.”

Late last week, organizers estimated Friday’s event would raise about $50,000 not including ticket sales. Instead it raised about $150,000, Danielson said. Tickets were $50 each.

Organizers received about $25,000 in new pledges for the Pickell stage and about $71,000 in new, open pledges.

The silent auction generated slightly more than $6,000 and the live auction raised nearly $13,000.

Chris and Pam Kurtis, owners of Christo’s, donated the use of the banquet hall and the food for “Puttin’ on the Rees,” Danielson previously said, meaning 100 percent of the proceeds went toward the theater’s survival.

The overall goal is to raise a total of $3.46 million to rehabilitate the theater. Of that amount, $600,000 will go into an endowment to support the theater’s continued operation, organizers previously said.

Organizers said they are optimistic they’ll reach the $1.5 million to qualify for the $300,000 grant. But they said they will be counting on small donations from the general public to reach the goal. Donations can be in cash, pledges or in-kind donations, such as construction work or other services, organizers previously said.

Donations can be made online through the Marshall County Community Foundation at www.marshallcountygives.org or, for project details and specific donor levels, visit www.reesproject.com, according to organizers.

Pledge forms are available at the Marshall County Community Foundation, Marshall County Historical Museum, Bowen Printing or by calling 574-286-2391, organizers previously said.

The goal, organizers have said, is to have all work completed by spring or early summer 2020 to coincide with the theater’s 80th anniversary.

>>Read full article

Plymouth's Rees Theatre needs money to save history

PLYMOUTH, Ind. --- A community treasure is coming back to life. Since the 1940s Plymouth's Rees Theatre has been a place where families shared memories and connected with others in the community.

In 2009, the Rees Theatre closed. Now the Rees Theatre Project Committee wants to reopen the theatre 11 years later in 2020.

They must raise the private funding match of $1.5 million by Halloween this year.

If they reach that goal, they will receive a matching grant of $300,000 from the regional cities initiative.

To donate to the Rees Theatre visit www.marshallcountygives.org.

>> View ABC57 Video

Oct. 31 deadline for Rees quickly approaching: Organizers seeking donations big, small to save historic movie house

(The list of items that will be on the block during the evening's live auction are at the end of the article.)

PLYMOUTH Organizers for a fundraising dinner and auctions – silent and live – in Plymouth on Friday said the event is sold out and hope it will raise close to $50,000 to save a downtown landmark.

Christo’s Banquet Center will be hosting the “Puttin’ on The REES” event Friday to benefit the Rees Theater, which will include a prime rib/salmon dinner, raffle and 50/50 drawing. A cash bar will be available and entertainment will be provided by Plymouth High School performing arts students.

Former Plymouth resident Mark Neidig will emcee the evening. There will be an after-party at Opie’s Deli, 114 N. Michigan St., once festivities at Christo’s wind down.

Randy Danielson and Brent Martin, both on the committee to save the theater, said Tuesday the group is closing in on 60 percent of its goal of raising $1.5 million before Oct. 31. If the group is successful, it will capture a $300,000 Regional Cities matching grant. The Oct. 31 date is misleading, however, Martin said, because organizers will have to finalize several things, such as completing various paperwork, in the days before the deadline.

All 280 tickets for Friday’s event have been sold. Each ticket was $50. Organizers said they believe the event will raise about $50,000, not including ticket sales.

Chris and Pam Kurtis, owners of Christo’s, are donating the use of the banquet hall and the food for “Puttin’ on the Rees,” Danielson said, meaning 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward the theater’s survival.

The overall goal is to raise a total of $3.46 million to rehabilitate and repurpose the theater. Of that amount, $600,000 will go into an endowment to support the theater’s continued operation, Martin said.

Both Danielson and Martin said they are optimistic they’ll reach the $1.5 million to qualify for the $300,000 grant. But they said organizers will be counting on small donations from the general public to reach the goal. Donations can be in cash, pledges or in-kind donations, such as construction work, organizers previously said.

Donations can be made on-line through the Marshall County Community Foundation at www.marshallcountygives.org or, for project details and specific donor levels, visit www.reesproject.com, according to organizers. Pledge forms are available at the Marshall County Community Foundation, Marshall County Historical Museum, Bowen Printing or by calling 574-286-2391, organizers said.

Proceeds from the live auction will also be critical.

“We’re sitting on around $900,000,” said Martin, who is also serving as the project’s architect. “That’s a hell of a thing to accomplish with a 10,000 population in the community. I just feel that way. Even what we’ve got today is fantastic. But what we need is $1.5 million.

“To say I’m optimistic?” he continued. “Maybe I’m hopeful that we’re going to reach that goal – and those 280 people at the gala on Friday, you just better get your wallets out!”

Habitat Restore is removing the unsalvageable chairs to be broken down and recycled. This fall and winter, workers will remove the plaster ceiling. No asbestos was discovered in the plaster, Danielson said.

At the same time, the entire auditorium will be stripped down to the brick walls.

In the spring, organizers will again offer a memory tour so the public can see the bare-bones structure.

“With the film screen removed, that will expose the stage area,” Danielson said. “And we think (the evening of the tours) we’ll have some performances take place in there. It will be (standing-room only) performances – which are done a lot these days – just to give people an idea of what can and will occur there.”

Martin said South Bend-based Keller Structural Engineering is currently evaluating the east wall, the eastern portion of the north wall and the alley wall because there are “settlement issues” and possible issues with the foundation. The firm will also do some masonry work.

Once that is completed, Martin said, a new roof will be placed on the building. After that, work will move to the building’s interior.

The goal, both men said, is to have all work completed by spring or early summer 2020 to coincide with the theater’s 80th anniversary.

“Whether or not we meet that Oct. 31 goal, this project is going forward,” Martin said. “It’s going to happen, but it’s going to be a hell of lot easier with that $300,000.”

Bidder, bidder!

From a “Woodstock” film poster to a tour of the Marshall County Courthouse’s bell tower, many unique items will be up for grabs during the live auction portion of the “Puttin’ On the Rees” event Friday evening:

– Commemorative Woodstock ticket, framed “Woodstock” film poster, tie-dyed shirt and CBD oil valued at $900 from Wellness 101 and Nelson Chipman;

– Chicago Cub urn valued at $700 from The Remembrance Center;

– Michiana Hot Air Balloon Ride and $20 Plymouth Chamber of Commerce bucks valued at $450 from Kathy Bottorff;

-- A tour for six of the Marshall County Courthouse’s bell tower as well as a picnic on the courthouse lawn valued at $600 from Curt Palmer;

– A wine tour of Michigan valued at $800 from Hoosier Food Services and Mary Beth Listenberger;

– A tour for eight of the tunnels under the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ convent valued at $350 from PHJC and Sister Judith;

– A stay at a bed and breakfast in Stevensville, Mich., valued at $600 from Dan Kunde;

– Two Rees medallion reproductions valued at $2,500 from Lane Lafoon;

– A prime rib dinner for 12 valued at $500 from Hoosier Food Services and Mary Beth Listenberger;

– Dinner for six valued at $600 from Dan Marohn;

– An Elvis Presley poster valued at $750 from Denny Bottorff;

– An 11-by-14 quilling of the Rees’ marquee valued at $500 from Anna Kietzman;

– A one-week stay in Steamboat Springs, Colo., valued at $2,500 from Ellen Skinner;

-- An advertising package valued at $975 from radio stations WKVI/WYMR;

-- Two tickets to Garth Brooks’ concert at the University of Notre Dame valued at $250 from Ellen Skinner.

>>Read full article - Plymouth Pilot

REES Theatre Project Needs Your Donation Now

This summer, The REES Theatre Project was added to the Marshall County Crossroads Stellar Initiative, as another show of community support. When complete, the art deco restored interior will create a multi-use venue for the performing arts, educational programing and the celebration of life events. Dependent on successful fundraising efforts, the facility is expected to open in its 80th Anniversary year 2020.

The REES Theatre has a notable historic past. Original construction of the theater began in 1939 within a massive three-story red brick building originally completed in 1865 as Plymouth’s tallest edifice on lot No. 1 of the 1836 plat map. Well-known architect Alves O’Keefe designed the theater which was completed in February of 1940 by then owners Stewart and Opal Rees who resided on the third floor. It boosted the first ‘Mother’s Viewing Room’ for fussy babies.

In the spring of 2017 phase one work began to restore the art deco glazed block façade and repairs were made to the marquee which was completely rebuilt in a redevelopment project in 1997. With neon repairs complete and all new LED energy efficient bulbs in place, the lighted marquee was returned to the Plymouth streetscape by the fall of 2017. The marquee displays community and private messages that change on a daily basis.

With a sustainable business plan in place to create a multipurpose event center focused on the presentation of film, the performing arts, education and the celebration of life events, a capital campaign was established—Pledging to Save The REES. After witnessing the theater’s physical demise, the Plymouth community understands the need for renovation and sees the REES as a vital part of the city’s landscape once again.

In partnership with the Marshall County Community Foundation, pledges may be secured over a four-year payment period. In addition, an Endowment Fund has been established to secure and sustain The REES for the enjoyment of future generations.

Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter has given his support to the project, adding, “In 2020 the REES Theatre will turn 80 years old. In the past two years, a civic committee has brought forward an awesome idea to save the REES. Imagine the possibilities of a new downtown event venue for up-and-coming singers or new bands in the area, your daughter’s wedding and reception at a beautiful new site in downtown Plymouth, the Maxinkuckee Players performing on-stage an established Broadway musical, or watching the original Star Wars like you did in 1977 at the age of 11. Anything is possible at the REES.”

>>Read full article - WTCA News

REES Theatre Capital Campaign Accepts Donation from Hoosier Racing Tire

Regional Cities Initiative project to raise $1.5MM in philanthropic matching funds.

Plymouth, IN (September 28, 2018) – A local industry with international recognition has lent its support in saving an iconic downtown theatre in rural America. On Friday, September 28th, Hoosier Racing Tire President, John DeSalle, was on hand to announce the company’s investment of $50,000 to the REES Theatre Project. The Plymouth manufacturer is matching a gift made by the Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation (PIDCO) earlier this summer. Both organizations donated at the leadership matching gift level which will provide significant capital investment to the project. 

These investments by local businesses and organizations comes at an ideal time. The REES Theatre Project is striving to meet an October 31st deadline for a Regional Cities Initiative matching grant of $300,000. This is a wonderful opportunity to support a worthwhile quality-of-place enhancing project and capture the Regional Cities matching funds. Successful fundraising this year will allow interior renovations to begin quickly and a grand reopening to take place as early as the first quarter of 2020. 

Since the closing of the iconic REES Theatre in 2009 after a 69-year run, the community of Plymouth has been imagining the possibilities for its return to the vigor of its grand opening night on April 12, 1940 featuring Gone with the Wind. Then in December of 2016, a Plymouth couple, encouraged by the presentation of 8th grade students from Lincoln Junior High and the many placemaking efforts occurring in the downtown area, decided it was time to take some action. Their $100,000 gift to the Wythougan Valley Preservation Council allowed for the theater to be purchased from private owners and placed in a 501(c)3 not-for-profit now known as The REES Theatre Inc.   

Led by an original committee of twelve or the ‘Dirty Dozen’, this restoration effort has been supported by The City of Plymouth, Discover Plymouth, Plymouth Redevelopment Commission, Marshall County Economic Development Corporation, PEDC, PIDCO, Plymouth Chamber, M.C. Tourism Bureau, Marshall County Crossroads Museum & Historical Society, and the Marshall County Community Foundation. Endorsements have come from St. Joseph Regional Medical Center; LifePlex; Ancilla College; Culver Academies; and Plymouth, Triton, LaVille, and John Glenn Community Schools. 

The REES has a notable historic past. Original construction of the theater began in 1939 within a massive three-story red brick building originally completed in 1865 as Plymouth’s tallest edifice on lot No. 1 of the 1836 plat map. Well known architect Alves O’Keefe designed the theater which was completed in February of 1940 by then owners Stewart and Opal Rees who resided on the third floor. It boosted the first ‘Mother’s Viewing Room’ for fussy babies.

In the spring of 2017 phase one work began to restore the art deco glazed block façade and repairs were made to the marquee which was completely rebuilt in a redevelopment project in 1997. With neon repairs complete and all new LED energy efficient bulbs in place, the lighted marquee was returned to the Plymouth streetscape by the fall of 2017. The marquee displays community and private messages that change on a daily basis. 

With a sustainable business plan in place to create a multipurpose event center focused on the presentation of film, the performing arts, education and the celebration of life events, a capital campaign was established—Pledging to Save The REES. After witnessing the theater’s physical demise, the Plymouth community understands the need for renovation and sees the REES as a vital part of the city’s landscape once again.

In partnership with the Marshall County Community Foundation, pledges may be secured over a four-year payment period. In addition, an Endowment Fund has been established to secure and sustain The REES for the enjoyment of future generations.

Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter has given his support to the project, adding, “In 2020 the REES Theatre will turn 80 years old. In the last two years, a civic committee has brought forward an awesome idea to save the REES. Imagine the possibilities of a new downtown event venue for up and coming singers or new bands in the area, your daughter’s wedding and reception at a beautiful new site in downtown Plymouth, the Maxinkuckee Players performing on-stage an established Broadway musical, or watching the original Star Wars like you did in 1977 at the age of 11. Anything is possible at the REES.”

This summer, The REES Project was added to the Marshall County Crossroads Stellar Initiative, as another show of community support. When complete, the art deco restored interior will create a multi-use venue for the performing arts, educational programing and the celebration of life events. Dependent on successful fundraising efforts the facility is expected to open in its 80th Anniversary year 2020.

Landmark Plymouth theatre a step closer to opening its doors

A piece of history is coming back to life in downtown Plymouth.

The Rees Theatre closed back in 2009, but is currently under renovations to reopen its doors.

WSBT 22 found out that we could see the theatre opening within the next two years.

That's the goal, and today the theatre got another big check. This will go toward the $1.5 million dollars the Rees Theatre Project is trying to raise before October 31st.

If they meet this number, they will receive a matching grant of $300,000 from the Regional Cities Initiative.

The Rees Theatre sits vacant on a corner in downtown Plymouth, but soon that will change.

“We are really looking forward to the renovation and making it a keynote place in our downtown Plymouth,” said Randy Danielson, Rees Project co-chairman.

The building closed nearly a decade ago, but community members want to see it come back to life.

With grants and donations, the non-profit that runs the Rees Theatre started renovations last year –adding a new facade and marquee.

“The next project is actually securing the building,” said Danielson. “We have some masonry work that needs to be done so a stabilizing of the foundation.”

Then they will prepare for the interior renovations happening over the winter.

They plan on turning the space into a multifaceted theatre with a live performance stage and dinner theatre.

For many, this space is more than just a downtown attraction.

“As our children grew up we brought them to see all the cool movies like “Back to the Future” and “’Star Wars” and all those fun things, so this place has wonderful memories,” said Linda Starr, Rees Project board member.

Starr says opening the theatre back up will have a lasting effect on the community.

“For me it’s just a great thing to be able to be a part of making it go into the next generation and take on new life.”

Hoosier Racing Tire President John DeSalle announced a $50,000 investment to the project. Something the mayor of Plymouth says will jumpstart the next phase of renovations.

“To see people not only volunteering but opening up their wallets and giving to the cause of the Rees Theatre is very important, and we hope to get that done,” said Mark Senter, Plymouth mayor.

Successful fundraising this year will allow interior renovations to begin quickly.

The board is hoping to have a grand reopening in 2020, which is the theatre's 80th anniversary.

>> View WSBT22 Video