Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20 of that year. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20 of that year. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai council gives Triumvirate more time to build theater

The Kenai City Council voted last summer to conditionally donate a 2-acre parcel of city land near Daubenspeck Park and the Kenai Walmart

The City of Kenai voted Wednesday to give Triumvirate Theatre more time to develop a new theater facility on land gifted last year to the group by the city. Fundraising efforts by the theater for the construction of a new playhouse have been underway since the group’s former space burned down in February 2021.

The Kenai City Council voted last summer to conditionally donate a 2-acre parcel of city land near Daubenspeck Park and the Kenai Walmart.

The terms of the agreement through which the land donated to Triumvirate Theatre previously required that a new facility be developed by July 2023. The council voted Wednesday to bump that deadline back to July 2025, which Triumvirate Theatre President Joe Rizzo said will give the organization more time to raise money for the facility.

Rizzo told council members Wednesday that Triumvirate has raised more than $700,000 in local donations and matching fund grants. That is in addition to a $1 million grant from the Rasmuson Foundation and two additional funding opportunities Rizzo said have not yet been finalized.

He said the group is asking for a $500,000 grant from the Murdoch Charitable Trust and that $1 million has been earmarked by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

“We are at a point where the fundraising for this project has gone very, very well,” Rizzo said. “I’m very proud of our community.”

It is the unknowns surrounding those two larger funding opportunities, Rizzo said, that have stalled design work for a new theater.

“Before we can design this building, we have to know (whether we’re) designing a $2 million building or we’re designing a $3 million building, so that’s going to slow this process down a little bit,” Rizzo said.

The Kenai City Council’s full Wednesday meeting can be streamed on the city’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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