The city of Toccoa says that crews recently completed the third and final phase of those facade renovations.
That included painting the facade, installing doors and a ticket window, and doing other upgrades to the outside of the building.
Main Street Toccoa Director Connie Tabor says the facade is meant to reflect what the building looked like as the Ritz Movie Theater circa 1939.
“We took paint samples from the original stucco and had those paint chips analyzed by historic preservation consultants to determine the original paint colors of each section of the facade,” said Tabor. ”
The facade renovations were completed with a $15,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Council for the Arts, along with a local match from the city of $15,000.
With the facade renovation now completed and the false facade removed, Tabor says the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Historic Preservation Division was asked to extend the Toccoa Downtown Historic District to include the Schaefer Center.
“HPD has come back and said ‘yes,” said Tabor. “They would allow the district to be extended.”
Since that has been approved, the city can now apply for other grants to help fund further work at the Schaefer Center, including restoration of the balcony and reconstruction of the historic marquee.
Tabor said this work helps continue to establish the Schaefer Center as a developing anchor for downtown Toccoa.
“More and more people are utilizing the Schaefer Center,” said Tabor. “We just want to encourage the arts effort.”
Also, the Schaefer Center will be considered early next year for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.