They're close enough to smell the popcorn.
Thanks to a $15,000 gift from Northwestern Bank the historic Vogue Theatre in downtown Manistee is a step closer to raising the $2.3 million needed to restore and reopen the vintage movie house and to be in the running for a $500,000 Michigan Economic Development Corporation grant.
Steve Brower, chair of the Vogue's capital campaign, said the group has raised $1.1 million so far. He said the restoration fund is seeking donations from a few foundations and several individuals are looking at making end-of-year gifts.
Construction is expected to begin in January, with interior work finished in April and exterior improvements continuing after that. That work is out for bid now and the group is hoping for price breaks from contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.
Home Depot has pledged to offer discounts while securing price cuts from some suppliers.
If restoring and reopening the Vogue provides the same kind of economic kick for Manistee as redoing the State Theatre has done for Traverse City, restoration work will be worth every penny.