$50,000 grant from Cowlitz Tribal Council kickstarting theater’s rehab work

Historic Polaris Theatre Foundation to replace theater’s HVAC system, repair building’s water leaks

The former Dragonfly Cinema, now known as the Historic Polaris Theatre, will undergo extensive rehabilitation thanks to a $50,000 grant awarded last week by the Cowlitz Tribal Foundation. The Port Orchard theater’s foundation says it will replace the building’s inoperable HVAC system, fix foundation water leaks, install a firewall barrier and improve the lobby area with the grant funding. (File photo)

The former Dragonfly Cinema, now known as the Historic Polaris Theatre, will undergo extensive rehabilitation thanks to a $50,000 grant awarded last week by the Cowlitz Tribal Foundation. The Port Orchard theater’s foundation says it will replace the building’s inoperable HVAC system, fix foundation water leaks, install a firewall barrier and improve the lobby area with the grant funding. (File photo)

PORT ORCHARD — The Historic Polaris Theatre Foundation, new operators of the Bay Street movie theater formerly known as the Dragonfly Cinema, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Cowlitz Tribal Council Foundation’s statewide fund committee.

The tribal council notified the foundation Nov. 13 that it had approved its grant request, which had been submitted by the Port Orchard nonprofit group on Nov. 10.

Steve Sego, a board member of the foundation, said the funding will be used to repair and permanently fix the building’s leaking wall, and replace its old, inoperable HVAC system. Both deficiencies contributed to the gradual deterioration of the building’s interior, with water seepage introducing a musty smell throughout the theater.

Funds from the grant award also will be used to install a firewall barrier on the ceiling to conform with local fire code requirements and provide improvements to the lobby area, he said.

The City of Port Orchard and South Kitsap’s fire marshal are requiring that the space be retrofitted with a firewall layer between the two floors of the building. The need to renovate the lobby, Sego said, also is a top priority so the space can be opened as soon as possible for events and gatherings prior to the theater’s reopening planned for next year.

In the foundation’s grant proposal letter to the tribe council, board members Sego, Joshua Johnson and Coreen Haydock wrote that the restoration of the Polaris “will also play a significant role in the redevelopment of Port Orchard’s downtown and main street.”

The letter also stated that the Port Orchard community is in need of a gathering place “that provides live music and entertainment, a forum for discussions on public issues, special events like weddings, reunions, business meetings, and local service organization meetings.”

Sego and Haydock, who also played a role in redeveloping the Historic Roxy Theatre in Bremerton, pointed to the successful renovation and acquisition of that theater and its contribution to that community’s growth of vibrant entertainment offerings.

The foundation has identified additional funding opportunities that include Historic Theaters and Building for the Arts grants from the state Department of Archaeological and Historic Preservation, as well as additional business and private grants and contributions from the South Kitsap community.

Johnson, one of the building’s co-owners, said Polaris’s foundation is soliciting smaller donor contributions from people in the community. He said prospective donors can visit the Historic Polaris Theatre’s website at polaristheater.com for more information.

Sego said local construction company BJC Group is a project supporter and has provided plans and a preliminary budget for a recommended priority list of issues that need attention. He said that while volunteers have begun working on some of those tasks, professionals will be brought in to address some of the building’s more problematic issues.

More in News

Firework cakes with prices attached, Elisha Meyer/Port Orchard Independent
Fizzle or boom on fireworks with higher costs?

Fourth of July celebrations in Kitsap County are getting back to pre-pandemic… Continue reading

Downtown Port Orchard. Courtesy Photo
Funding advances for Port Orchard downtown revitalization

The House Appropriations Committee has advanced new funding championed by U.S. Rep.… Continue reading

Suquamish Councilmember Sammy Mabe speaks during the tribe's joint meeting with the city of Poulsbo. Courtesy Photos
Poulsbo, Suquamish officials meet for 1st time since 2020

Tribe suspended relationship following fatal shooting

Heraldnet photo
Former Bremerton High assistant football coach Joe Kennedy was placed on paid leave in 2015 following a dispute with Bremerton School District over his leading prayer sessions at the 50-yard line following games.
Supreme Court rules in favor of former Bremerton football coach

High court’s 6-3 decision states Joe Kennedy was terminated without justification

Former Bremerton High assistant football coach’s six-year battle leading up to the Supreme Court ends with a decision in his favor over religious freedom issues. (First Liberty Institute photo)
Prayers answered: Coach wins in Supreme Court

Bremerton football coach prevails in a 6-3 court decision

Applesauce from South Kitsap High lunchroom
Changes in free summer lunch program upset some

A popular food program is making its return to the South Kitsap… Continue reading

Motorcyclists weave through each other during a pre-parade demonstration. Elisha Meyer/Port Orchard Independent Photos
Fathoms parade winners announced

The annual Fathoms O’ Fun Festival returned to the streets of Port… Continue reading

Consumer fireworks are now for sale across Kitsap County, with the exception of Bainbridge Island. (File photo)
It’s official: Fireworks season has begun

Sales started Tuesday; consumer fireworks can only be discharged on Fourth of July

Most Read