A primary focal point of the ongoing development of downtown Delaware’s cultural arts district is the 94-year-old Strand Theatre, which recently received strong community financial support—$150,000 from the county and $50,000 from the city of Delaware.
The 15-person Strand Theatre and Cultural Arts Association Board, chaired by OWU Provost David Robbins, is as Robbins conveys, extremely appreciative of the support.
“As one of the 10 longest-operating movie theatres in the country, attracting more than 60,000 patrons each year, the theatre has been in need of major renovations for a long time,”says Robbins, pointing out earlier improvements that were funded by a previous grant to provide a new roof, expansion of the concession area, and upgrades to the sound and projection systems for the theatre’s three screens. But there is more—much more—to come.
“I hope that by this spring, we are sitting in comfortable seats admiring the [Strand’s] new flooring, renovated bathrooms, and freshly painted and soundproofed walls,” says Bill Rogers, principal with the Delaware-based accounting firm of Wolf, Rogers and Dickey, and a Strand board member.
Adding some historical context, Rogers explains that six years ago, the theatre was donated to and owned by OWU until 2008, when the ownership of the Strand, now an Ohio 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation, was transferred to the Strand Theatre and Cultural Arts Association to help support creation of a community-supported arts district.
“Saving the Strand and downtown Delaware is a huge accomplishment, and much credit is due to Ohio Wesleyan for moving this project along so well,” says Rogers, who foresees a time when it will be hard to buy sought-after Strand tickets.
“The board is committed to the ongoing development of an expanding cultural arts district and has been guided in its efforts by input from the community, local business persons, and nationally-recognized architects,” says Robbins. “The relationship between the Strand and Ohio Wesleyan has been long-standing, and together they have served not only the community’s moviegoers, but also provided charitable services to our community’s youth.”