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DKA to partner with Restoration Church on Strand Theater project

Sharon Hayes • Sep 30, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — The Downtown Kingsport Association on Friday plans to announce a partnership with Restoration Church to bring performing arts to the old Strand Theater.

Mark Freeman of the DKA said Wednesday that details will be announced at 10 a.m. Friday in the Gem Theatre on Main Street, headquarters of the DKA.

Freeman said Restoration Church and the DKA will announce the return of the performing arts to downtown at the Strand, a 500-seat theater at 140 Broad St. being converted into a full performing arts venue. It has been home to the church for two decades.

“The use of computerized LED lighting and digital sound technology will enable the undertaking to produce Broadway quality productions,” states a news release from Freeman. “Restoration and DKA will partner on various events ranging from family-based dramas and comedy to musicals and concerts. Not only will this venture attract people to downtown, it will also create a setting to showcase local talent.”

However, the building also will continue to function as the home of Restoration Church, as it has for the past 20 years.

News of the DKA/Restoration venture comes on the heels of recent news that Kingsport may purchase the State Theater from owner and developer Doug Beatty.

The Kingsport Economic Development Board recently voted to spend nearly $10,000 to fund a study to determine the economic impact of a restored theater in downtown Kingsport. The Cinema Preservation Group is conducting the work and including specific data to Kingsport such as demographics, retail sales and potential theater users.

Beatty, who is also involved with two restaurants — Bone Fire and the Kingsport Grocery Company — and the Bus Pit music venue operating downtown, had planned to open the State Theater himself but recently determined a not-for-profit umbrella would work best. Beatty said the State Theater is about 70 percent complete.

Also at Friday’s DKA news conference, officials will highlight the launch of a new Web site: www.downtownkingsport.org.

It features video of DKA members talking about their businesses. For more information go to the site and watch the video on the DKA TV Channel.

In addition, the news conference will highlight the Nov. 12 annual DKA dinner and live auction at MeadowView. DKA will honor the principal people involved in bringing higher education to downtown Kingsport. They are former Mayor Jeanette Blazier, Kingsport Times-News Publisher Keith Wilson, Pal’s Sudden Service founder Pal Barger, and Domtar paper mill Manager Charlie Floyd.

And DKA officials will highlight activities set for Dec. 5 when the association will host the annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Downtown Merchants Christmas Open House with activities for all ages. In conjunction with the tree lighting and the open house will be the Regions Bank-sponsored gingerbread house competition. Activities will start at 4:30 p.m., and the lighting ceremony will start at 6:45 p.m.

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