Group aims to restore historic Georgia theater
by Becky Purser
The Telegraph (Macon)
December 03, 2012 12:35 AM | 492 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PERRY — At 25, Billy Milby of Kathleen is among a group of seven spearheading an effort to renovate and reopen the Muse Theatre in downtown Perry.

“Like most people, every time I’d drive by I’d think it would be nice for someone to reopen it,” Milby said at the old theater at 806 Commerce St. “I just decided somebody’s got to do it.”

Milby is joined by six others in the community — Greg Potter, Jon Pierce, Beth Cleveland, Jackie Cooper, Chris Clark and Sara Barron — in organizing a nonprofit to raise funds to purchase and renovate the 5,000-square-foot theater constructed in 1949. The Muse Theatre Foundation should be fully set up in two to three months, Milby said.

Pierce, 52, a sales manager of a plant for Tolleson Lumber, used to go the Muse Theatre with his parents after lunch for a cartoon and a Western movie.

“We all grew up going to the movies there,” said Pierce in a telephone interview. He is vice president of the foundation. Milby is the president.

Pierce said he’s excited about the project. He said the foundation name has been approved by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, and the incorporation paperwork as a nonprofit may be finalized by the start of the new year.

Much of the work needed to bring the old theater back to life is expected to be secured through grants, which are often dependent on a showing of community support through funds raised for the project, Milby said.

“We need a lot of start-up money to get the ball rolling,” said Milby, who is already partners with his dad and brother in a for-profit venture, Visiting Angels, an alternative to assisted living where care is provided in the person’s home. He said those who approve grants for projects like the Muse Theatre need to “see that the community is behind the project in a tangible way.”
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