Donations continue to climb for HERO

Local residents had an opportunity to hear the latest figures from the Help Entertain and Restore Organization Monday night. About 20 area community members gathered for the meeting held at the Kendall Young Library to hear about progress in the efforts to Save the Webster Theater.

Jeff Pingel and Deb Brown, of HERO, announced that to date, business and company donations total $44,281, while individual giving has topped $30,000 and the online Indiegogo campaign has raised $2,560 with nine days left.

“Typically, Indiegogo campaigns really take off during the last week and we’re getting to that point,” said Jeff Pingel. “If you all tell 10 friends and they tell 10 friends, it could just take off and we’ll meet our goal. Then we would be in outstanding shape.”

The goal of for the online campaign is $34,125.

Those who donate at the Indiegogo site,, can receive a number of perks for their donations. Donors who give $35 will receive a Super Hero T-shirt while $50 donors will get a bottomless bucket of popcorn. Those who contribute $10 will receive a movie pass good for one showing, and at the $75 level, donors receive two tickets to the opening night at the renovated theater. A $100 donations will receive a movie pass for a year.

The organization is shooting for a September opening date.

“We’re about $17,000 away from hitting phase 2. We’re getting much closer,” said Deb Brown. “Phase 3 is very aggressive, it’s about $120,000 but we said if we get half of that, we’re opening the doors.”

Pingel said renovations on the bathrooms of the theater are under way now. Peterson Construction has donated their services to making the repairs. There are many other repairs and updating tasks, according to Pingel. A painting day will soon be scheduled. “If you recall, someone painted it a gloss black. We’re going to change that. We’ll get scaffolding because it’s a giant room with a high ceiling,” Pingel said.

Pingel said one of the costliest items on the list is $75,000 for digital equipment

Estimates of the cost to clean the seats in the theater is around $4,000. Pingel said to keep costs down, the group is looking for volunteers to come in and pretreat the seats, using an industrial vacuum, prior to the cleaning. Volunteers are also needed to go in as the seats are being professionally cleaned to wipe up the seats. Those interested in helping can sign up at the chamber office or send a message through the Save the Webster Theatre Facebook page.

The group was also looking for volunteers to serve on the theater’s board. Pingel said seven to nine people are needed for the permanent board. Sign up sheets were passed around for all of the volunteer opportunities.

Kay Ross who serves on the fundraising committee, said her group had been visiting local businesses to solicit donations.

She reported that the fundraising committee also held a poster sale, started the Indiegogo campaign and took part in the dodgeball tournament with SHIFT Happens.

“By the time this whole thing is done, we’d like to have bake sales, car washes, whatever it takes to every single individual that we possibly can to donate what they can,” she said. “That way everyone owns a little piece of the theater.”