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Lilly Endowment gift aimed at Walker Theatre renovation

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The Madame Walker Theatre Center in downtown Indianapolis has received a $500,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help fund repairs and maintenance to the historic building on Indiana Avenue.

In April, center directors said they needed $1 million for a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, in addition to electrical wiring, lighting and sound equipment for the 937-seat theater.

The grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, announced by directors on Monday, will help the theater continue programs such as Jazz on the Avenue and Freedom Walk.

The four-story, 48,000-square-foot Madame Walker building at the corner of Indiana Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Street houses the theater, a ballroom and several offices. It also houses the Madam C.J. Walker Museum, which honors the woman who built an Indianapolis grooming-products empire in the early 1900s.

The building first opened in 1927, closed in the mid-1960s and reopened in 1988.

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

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  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

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