The quest to save Thomaston’s historic Ritz Theatre is getting underway with the formation of the Upson County Concerned Citizens, Inc (UCCCI), a non-profit organization that aims to not only raise the money for a new digital projector, but also help in other areas of the community. Larry Dawson, President of UCCCI, stated this is the first project of UCCCI. The reason the group feels compelled to help The Ritz, is due to its’ historic value to the town.
“The Ritz is a historical marker in Thomaston,” said Dawson. “It’s one of the few family venues in town and it would be sad to see it gone.”
The UCCCI has several fundraising ideas in the works already, the first being a “Hometown Talent Showcase” on May 19 at 2 p.m. followed by a Country Jamboree on June 14. Dawson also noted that he and the board of the UCCCI are very much interested in hearing any ideas that the community has to help raise the money and are still looking for volunteers to join the organization and help out.
The plan as it stands now is to raise as much as possible, if not all, of the money needed for a new digital projector before the end of the year when the movie industry begins only distributing films in a digital format. The projector would belong to the UCCCI and Dawson stated that they planned (depending on what legal counsel advised) to lease it back to the Neals for use at the Ritz, or if they were able to get far enough ahead they would have the option of purchasing it from the group.
For those wishing to make donations to the cause, you can do so at the Bank of Upson and there are plans for various locations to be set up at businesses throughout town. All donations are tax deductible. If you are interested in signing up for the talent shows, contact Sylvia Chapman at 706-975-1545 or Chrystie Pitts at 706-656-0299. For anyone interested in volunteering or if you have ideas for a fundraising event you can contact Larry Dawson at Patriot Motors in Thomaston at 706-647-4125 or Zebulon at 770-567-5400.