ATHENA — After nearly a decade of searching for large grants to restore Athena’s Gem Theater, the 1901 building received two grants in one day totalling $237,000.

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, Ford Family Foundation gave $200,000 and Oregon Community Foundation gave $37,500 toward the estimated $800,000 restoration cost.

“It was a slow slog with the economy but this should get the ball rolling,” Rob McIntyre of the non-profit Athena’s Gem said.

The frozen-in-time building hasn’t been in use since 1968. The city took over the structure in 2004 before giving it to the non-profit for restoration the next year.

According to McIntyre, the organization plans to raise additional funds and get a new roof in the coming months.

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