Launching A Public Fundraiser For The Dietrich

TUNKHANNOCK, Pa -- Officials with the Dietrich Theater are launching a public fundraising campaign this weekend in an effort to preserve the historic building in Tunkhannock.

The Dietrich was built in 1936 and offers more than movies. There are various speakers, classes, and more on tap at the cultural center.

"I've been going there my whole life and it's just a good thing, so let's keep it!" said Dawn Baker of Tunkhannock.

"I believe if we all gave just a little but, everybody here, it would stay for many years, I hope everybody does. I do!" said Diane Stone of Tunkhannock.

Officials with the Dietrich Theater set out with a goal of raising $335,000  to pay off loans.

So far, they say they have raised nearly $280,000, thanks, in large part, to foundations and corporations.

Now they want public help.

"They've really stepped up and really shown to us how much this community anchor means to our region and we're grateful,” said Erica Rogler, the executive director of the theater.

The theater's debt mostly started in 2008, during a building expansion, when contamination from old gas tanks was discovered and had to be remediated.

The newly expanded theater reopened in 2009.

In September of 2011, the building was damaged by flood waters requiring tens of thousands in repairs and replacements.

Stephen Colley is one of the theater's artists-in-residence.

"I think it's a great idea that the theater is here, it's brought culture, it's brought the movies, it's brought so many different things to the community and it's also brought employment,” he said.

The public fundraising campaign officially begins at 11:30 a.m. Saturday after a mortgage burning ceremony next to the theater.

Anyone who wants to donate to the Dietrich Theater should call the theater at (570) 996-1509.