ENID — A Vance Air Force Base couple is seeking donations to restore and reopen Enid Trail Drive-In Theatre in a three-phase approach, beginning with the initial crowdfunding.
Tony Weedn and his wife Haylee have discussed restoring the drive-in for years, after first seeing it 16 years ago when Tony arrived for pilot training. Now in Enid permanently, the family is turning the dream into reality and are asking for donations to help restore and reopen the theater.
“I always wanted someone to fix it up,” Tony said, “and I’m an entrepreneur at heart, so we just took action.”
The couple wanted to do something for Enid, and, having four small children, thought the drive-in would be a great asset to the community.
“I just started doing research about four months ago, and we have a lot of ideas,” Tony said. “We talked about it, prayed about it and thought, ‘Let’s just try it and see what happens.’”
Based off initial responses, the couple knew there would be a huge interest in the project that is soon to be a nonprofit organization.
“That will be set up soon and will help a lot of local businesses,” Tony said. “We thought the nonprofit route was the best route.”
The website lists a crowdfunding goal of $250,000, similar to the fundraising effort for the renovation of Leonardo’s Children’s Museum outdoor playground in August 2015.
In support of the idea, many local businesses chipped in to donate land clearing and legal services, and Kevin Friesen, owner of Friesen Designsn donated his services by designing a bookmark and branding, Tony said.
The donation website can be found at savethedrivein.com/enid and lists contribution options for both individuals and businesses.
With a $5 individual donation, contributors will be added to the exclusive backers list and private group allowing them to get updates and voting rights on anything related to the drive-in, according to the website.
The starting business donation is $100 and will list contributors on the website as a local business sponsor as well as the contributor’s logo shown on the big screen at the launch.
According to the website, once the phase one requirements are met, contributors will vote on a theater name, branding, a community workday schedule, board of directors, events and any other initial necessities that should arise.
Phase two will be focused on purchasing the latest in technology for repainting of the big screen along with a new or used 4K projector and FM modulator, and the final phase will be the launch of the theater, according to the website. During this phase, contributors will vote on the best business model to ensure the theater stays open while keeping expenses as low as possible. Backers also ill be invited to a private launch party.
Contingent on acquiring the necessary funds, the couple also wants to build a playground on the property, as well as potentially convert a portion to an ice-skating rink in the winter months, according to the website.
The campaign is set up to accept donations through July 12.