With the award of the State of Hawaii Grant-in-Aid, the Palace Theater is closing in on the installation of air conditioners in the historic building. The cost for design, engineering, the units and the labor rounds out at approximately $300,000. The $130,000 grant plus the $50,000 accumulated community support puts the “Cool the Palace” campaign just over the 60% funded mark.
“”We are thrilled to have been awarded this large grant that moves us much closer to our goal,” said Wendy Peskin, President of the non-profit Friends of the Palace Theater board. “It’s been a long haul to get to this point. It started back in 2012 when the board, guided by “Quack” Moore, raised $116,000 to replace our old roof. Then from 2015 to 2016, we campaigned for the $140,000 to buy and install solar panels. Now we are ready for a big push to gather the missing $120,000 of the $300,000 that will put us over the top and get some cool air circulating in the theater,” said Peskin.
“Besides the massive fundraising for all the preliminary steps needed to install air conditioning,” added Morgen Bahurinsky, Executive Director of the Palace, “being a registered building on the State Historical Sites makes the planning and execution of any repairs or installations on our 92 year old ‘Grande Dame’ more complicated. We are happy that all our Air Conditioning plans have received SHPD’s blessing,” said Bahurinsky.
Businesses and the public are encouraged to donate to this “big step” of the campaign. Checks may be sent directly to the Palace (38 Haili Street in Hilo), turned in at the box office, handed to the café staff or placed in the large acrylic donation box next to the café.
“Another way to help the ‘Cool the Palace’ campaign is to participate in our 5K Fun Run/Walk on September 16 at 4pm. The run will start at the Nissan Dealership in Keaukaha, go along Bayfront and end up at the Palace,” said Bahurinsky, herself a two time IronMan finisher and marathoner. “All runners/walkers reaching the Palace finish line will get a “cool” color changing ‘Cold Cup’ and will see the movie, ‘Run, Fatboy, Run’ a funny movie about an out-of-shape guy who jilted his pregnant fiancée on their wedding day five years ago. He decides to run a marathon to win her back. Top 3 over all finishers (men, women, boys, girls) will receive medals. The Fun Run/Walk is only $20 through July 31 and will be $25 on August 1, $30 on race day. Pick up your applications in the Palace lobby or go to our website and follow the link to register on line at Chronotrack,” noted Bahurinsky.
If you are looking forward to cool air in the Palace Theater, please donate today. “Finally, air conditioning is within our grasp,” said Peskin. “If we get a few more grants and strong support from the community, we can get there.”