Yankton, South Dakota's historic Dakota Theatre is owned and operated by the non-profit Lewis and Clark Theatre (LCTC) Community. The Grant will support the exterior Dakota Theatre lighting "Light the Night" project. The marquee and exterior lighting are in serious need of repair, making the Dakota Theatre look rundown, unattractive, and excluded from the image necessary for bringing people into Yankton's Historic Meridian District. The grant will go towards cleaning and repairing the existing marquee, installing the upward facing sconces and beacons, wiring and electrical upgrades, and installation of more efficient energy saving LED lights. When completed, the lighting project will rebuild community pride within the Dakota Theatre and Meridian District. Work on the exterior lighting is scheduled to start in June 1, 2022 and conclude September 30, 2022. $11,500 is the total amount necessary for the "Light the Night" project. There is only one known contractor for the project, "Pride Neon Signs" of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Downtown Yankton Facade Grant Program recently awarded LCTC a $5,750 grant which would equal a 50% match. The Yankton Rotary Club along with a grant from Rotary District 5610 would equal the additional 50% necessary to complete the "Light the Night" project. Good exterior lighting is important because it serves as constant advertisement to the public that the theatre is open. If the Dakota Theatre can repair and improve it's exterior lighting, especially using LED lights, it becomes an efficient/effective way to promote community theatre events. The fully lit "Dakota" marquee is of an iconic old-school neon design. The installation of new upward facing sconces will light the beacons that illuminate out to the community. Altogether, these improvements will give the Dakota Theatre a much needed "facelift" and create pride in the Meridian District which would help promote future Meridian District fundraising efforts.
Members of Yankton Rotary made the decision that the Dakota Theatre would be the Club's next big undertaking. To date, Yankton Rotary has held four public meetings related to revitalizing the Dakota Theatre with the goal of accomplishing current repairs and making the 120 year old establishment a centerpiece of the downtown Meridian District. Another recent outcome based on Club input is the redevelopment of the LCTC Board of Directors to include a business management element. Yankton Rotary is also working with the LCTC on the development of a master plan which would include a focused business strategy. The proposed business plan is to be completed by the end of this calendar year.
Addendum to Project Description (added after the project was signed)
On June 29, 2022, Yankton Rotary paid by check the required amount of $5,071.50 to Pride Neon Signs of Sioux Falls to implement the Dakota Theatre "Light the Night" project. Pride Neon Signs performed the necessary cleaning, repairs, electrical upgrades, restoration and installation required of the Grant on August 17, 2022. Minor Work still needs to be completed on the sconces and beacons. Once completed, Yankton Rotary will pay its share of the State and City taxes due on the project which should be approximately $400.00 Yankton Rotary's partner on the project is the City of Yankton, SD. A Downtown Yankton Facade Grant will cover the remaining "Light the Night" project balance of approximately $5,430.80.