Many Myrtle Creek and local area residents remember “going to the movies” at the RIO Theater or enjoying performances at the “Myrtle Creek Opera”, where a young Michael Fowler first played his fiddle to a public audience.
Unfortunately, the interior of the RIO, which opened at the First Avenue location on Friday, January 9, 1953, has been remodeled to the extent that it cannot be restored to its’ original condition. However, there is a current opportunity to apply for a “Diamonds in the Rough” matching grant from the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department to “light up” the RIO sign and make cosmetic improvements to the marquee and outside lobby.
In November 2015 a Preservation Specialist from Oregon Parks & Recreation conducted a site visit and thought the RIO would be a good candidate for the grant. Further, two electricians, Michael Fowler from Myrtle Creek and Hal Fletcher from Albany, OR have inspected the wiring and the existing RIO neon sign and provided cost estimates to make necessary repairs that would make it possible to “Light Up the RIO” again. Finally, the building owner has given permission to proceed with the project if the grant is approved.
Total cost estimates to date are between $5,000 to $6,000.0, which means that approximately $3,000.00 in cash or in-kind services is needed to meet the 50% match.
Since the deadline to apply for the grant is May 13th, 2016, donations to help meet the match are now being solicited and should be received by May 11th. Please make checks payable to the Main Street Myrtle Creek Association, write RIO Project in memo line, and mail to: 729 S. Main Street, #2, Myrtle Creek, OR 97457. All donations may be tax-deductible. The Main Street Myrtle Creek Association, is an IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
Grant Project Coordinator