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Pennington Gap officials hope Lee Theater’s reopening draws people to downtown area

November 3rd, 2013 11:49 pm by Wes Bunch

Pennington Gap officials hope Lee Theater’s reopening draws people to downtown area

The rehabilitation of the Lee Theater, which was built in 1946 before being closed in the 1970s, began in 2005. Contributed photo.

PENNINGTON GAP — A sell-out crowd was on hand to watch award-winning bluegrass vocalist Dale Ann Bradley perform last month at the grand re-opening of the Lee Theater in downtown Pennington Gap.

 Bradley’s inaugural concert was followed by a Halloween-night showing of the movie “Ghostbusters.” It too marked a sellout for the newly renovated venue, Pennington Gap Town Manager Phil Hensley said.

 “We sold a little over 400 tickets (for the opening-night concert),” Hensley said. “We had to set chairs in the aisles and everything for the performance, but we were tickled to death. I guess the best way to describe how successful it was came from a restaurant owner here in town. They said it was the best day they ever had and that they didn’t know what we were doing but keep on doing it.

 “We’re hoping it will be the start of something that can stimulate business and help pull tourism to the town. All we can say is, for the first two times we’ve used it, it’s worked.” 

The rehabilitation of the theater  —  which was built in 1946 before being closed in the 1970s  —  began in 2005 with a grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

For an expanded version of this article, please see Monday’s print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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