MONROE – Charlotte Pipe and Foundry’s Dowd Foundation has committed $1 million to a capital campaign for the Center Theatre and Monroe Science Center, two projects expected to spur downtown’s revitalization over the next decade.
The theater, which first opened in 1940, is being transformed into a regional performing arts center, while a children’s science center is under construction at the site of a former grocery store. Both projects are scheduled to open in 2020.
“This gift also represents a great way to announce the capital campaign, which we will be launching in the fall,” Mayor Bobby Kilgore said. “Charlotte Pipe is such an amazing corporate partner, and we are proud of their level of commitment to the community and to their employees.”
In recognition of the support of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry and the Dowd Foundation, the Center Theatre will be named the Dowd Center Theatre of Monroe. This donation will also fund an exhibit at the Monroe Science Center that will showcase Charlotte Pipe’s manufacturing assets and capabilities in Monroe.
“A downtown full of educational and entertainment options will attract new restaurants and other businesses, benefiting not only our company’s 500-plus employees but also all the citizens of Monroe and Union County,” said Chad Griffin, senior vice-president of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry’s Plastics Division. “When these projects are complete, we will all be able to find plenty of reasons to spend more time and resources here in Union County.”
The combined projects represent a nearly $10 million investment in downtown by both the City of Monroe and the Monroe Tourism Development Authority.
The campaign, dubbed Get Centered, will seek to raise $2.5 million in private dollars to acquire the hands-on exhibits that will fill the new Monroe Science Center and to help underwrite the theater’s first several years of programming.
The Center Theatre’s new design includes roughly 560 seats with balcony level, a meeting/pre-function area, dressing rooms, a catering kitchen and storage.
The Monroe Science Center will feature interactive exhibits geared to preschool, elementary and middle school-aged children. Exhibits will focus on aerospace, agriculture, manufacturing and health care. There will also be event space.
“Both these projects can succeed only through a combination of private and public support,” Kilgore said. “The city can’t to do it all and keep taxes low. Likewise, the private sector can’t take on such highly public projects by itself.”
Want to chip in?
Call Pete Hovanec at 704-282-4542 to learn more about the Get Centered campaign.