By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
A $200,000 USDA grant will help the Cherokee Phoenix Theaters upgrade to state-of-the-art digital projectors. Randall A. Gore, state director USDA Rural Development, presented the check to J.L. Burgess, vice-president of the Board of Directors of The Sequoyah Fund, at the Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual building on Thursday, July 22.
“USDA Rural Development is providing a Rural Business Enterprise Grant to The Sequoyah Fund, Inc.,” said a statement released by USDA officials. “The funds will be used to establish a revolving loan fund that will assist The Cherokee Phoenix Theatre with the purchase, installation and licensing fees for digital projectors and related equipment.”
Nell Leatherwood, executive director of The Sequoyah Fund, told the crowd assembled for Thursday’s presentation that she is excited at the prospects of new equipment at the theater which will include 3-D capabilities. “I want to thank the USDA for their generosity. This will be the only theater in western North Carolina that will have that capacity.”
Gore commented, “We really do feel good about what we’re doing here. This digital-type imaging is the wave of the future.” He added that North Carolina will receive approximately $1.4 million statewide in Rural Business Enterprise Grant funding.
Pam Hysong, USDA Rural Development office, said the grant received was competitive in nature among American Indian Tribes and was the third largest awarded nationwide. “This was very much a joint effort.”