In 2002, a group of concerned citizens created the Historic Elitch Gardens Theatre Foundation. This 501(c)3 non-profit organization was created for the express purpose of restoring the theatre and creating sustainable programming.
In 2006, the Historic Elitch Gardens Theatre Foundation was awarded $5 million in federal, state, city, grants and private donations. Work began on phase one of the restoration, which involved saving and restoring the historic exterior. A cement foundation was poured under the exterior walls, replacing beams resting on large stones on the bare ground. The roof, gable, main entrance/lobby, and the exterior walls were all replaced and painted. A fire suppression sprinkler system was also installed.
For phase two, the City of Denver’s Office of Economic Development awarded the Elitch Theatre a grant for $425,000 to restore the interior in 2011. Additional funds were raised by generous donors, which resulted in major work toward code compliance that was completed in 2014 and allowed us to obtain temporary event permits. In the summer of 2014 we were able to open the theatre for public events for the first time in fourteen years.
For phase three we are working on lobby renovations and installing restrooms. Once this phase is completed we will be able to get our permanent occupancy permit and we can begin regular programming. Then we continue fundraising for the countless other tasks needed to restore the theatre to it’s previous beauty.