By KURT HAUGLIE
CALUMET – The people operating the Calumet Theatre decided in 2013 to install an elevator in the building, and that decision is $10,000 closer to being realized because of a donation from a local business.
Laura Miller, Calumet Theatre executive director, said the $10,000 came from the Upper Peninsula Power Company. With that donation, the “Lift Us Up” elevator project fund now has almost $40,000.
Miller said the plan is to install the elevator on the first floor where a restroom next to the Calumet Village Council chamber is located now. It would end on the second floor in the Red Jacket Ballroom.
Although the exact cost of the elevator won’t be known until the company which would install the device examines the space, Miller said an initial estimate by an engineering firm put the cost at about $200,000.
Miller said the decision was made to install the elevator because many of the theatre’s patrons are elderly and have trouble using the stairs to get to the ballroom. Other patrons have mobility issues.
Dan Crane, UPPCO regional account executive, said the utility company has been a long-time supporter of the theatre.
“We’re very pleased to be part of this,” he said of the elevator project. “This is a very needed improvement.”
Crane said the money for the donation came from a foundation created by UPPCO’s parent company, Integrys. The foundation is funded by stockholders and not from rates paid by customers.
Miller said the fundraising effort for the elevator project began last year during the theatre’s annual gala event. Some patrons give donations when they come to events, some donate when they pay their annual dues, and there are donations from community members.
“They’re trickling in,” she said.
Donations can be made by going to the theatre’s website, calumettheatre.com, by credit card when calling the box office at 337-2610, or by mail to P.O. Box 167 Calumet, MI 49913.
The theatre board of directors have planned to make the elevator project a five-year effort, Miller said. Although she would like to see the pace of donations increase, talking to theatre patrons, she knows the elevator is a popular idea.
“A lot of people want this to happen,” she said.