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DETROIT-The Friends of the Alger Theater plan a “Rally in the Ally” to raise funds for the ongoing renovation of what they say is Detroit’s sole remaining neighborhood movie house.

The group has owned the theater since 1986 and spent most of the late 1980s paying off back taxes owed on the property. Now the group is raising funds for a $2 million, six-phase restoration project of the theater, which opened in 1935 with a double-feature screening of Bette Davis in The Girl from 10th Avenue and Pat O’Brien in Oil for the Lamp of China.

The group says about $400,000-$500,000 worth of work is needed on the 1,200-seat theater to get it up to code to allow it to be granted a temporary occupancy permit by the city. The group has about $200,000 in the bank right now.

Plans call for the old Alger to be turned into a combined cinema and performing arts center, which would showcase classic movies and live performances by local musicians. The Friends hope to have the project completed in three years.

At one time, more than 130 neighborhood theaters dotted Detroit, the Friends said. The rally, which will feature a blues festival and other events, will take place Sept. 13-14 at and outside the theater.

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