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Press Releases > September 26, 2001 > Larry Leal's Speech
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Text of Larry Leal's speech at the signing of the letter of agreement with Dr. Salwan

Good afternoon and I welcome you all and thank you for showing up here in the Lorenzo Theater today for what is one of the 2 most important announcements the Lorenzo Theater Foundation will ever make and what I feel is the official start of redevelopment of the San Lorenzo Village Square!

First, let me introduce myself, I am Larry Leal and I am the Founder of the Lorenzo Theater Foundation. I would also like to introduce Dr. Dharam Salwan, without whose help and active participation we all wouldn't be here today.

When I started this effort in May of 1998, I was told by many people that I was wasting my time, the Homes Association wouldn't be interested, the community would never do anything but sit and complain, Alameda County will never work with me, and the Bohannons.....well, I could go on and on.

This was reinforced in the headline article in the Daily Review on November 24, 1998 in which the first line read "Larry Leal is on a quixotic quest". And you know what, I've felt that was so true many times since that article was written!!!

But, what we are about to announce here today is not only exciting to the Lorenzo Theater and its supporters but also brings in, what I call "A NEW BEGINNING". What we are to announce here is truly the start of the redevelopment of the San Lorenzo Village Square. As you all are aware, Dr. Salwan purchased the Lorenzo Theater last December. Since then, we have had a great many discussions leading up to negotiations. It is the result of those negotiations that create the reason we are all here today.

I am proud to announce today that through the generosity of Dr. Salwan and his family, that Dr. and his family are donating to the Lorenzo Theater Foundation the sum of $200,000. Additionally, I am proud to announce that the Lorenzo Theater Foundation and Dr. Salwan and his family have also come to an agreement for the LTF to purchase the theater for the price of $400,000. As part of the agreement, Dr. will finance $306,000 himself. $94,000 of the donation will go to pay off the existing note on the property.

I would like to say to you all here that throughout our negotiations, Dr. Salwan has been nothing short of open, honest and totally up front. Dr. Salwan truly wants to see the Lorenzo Theater to once again become the BEACON to a REVITALIZED SAN LORENZO VILLAGE SQUARE. This $200,000 donation is the Salwan family's commitment to not only the LTF but to the entire community of San Lorenzo as well as to Alameda County to restore back to use this historic theater for future generations to come and experience!

In appreciation of their generosity, the LTF will place outside in the showcase directly facing Hesperian Blvd a poster size plaque, as shown in this exhibit, acknowledging the Salwan Family's generosity and involvement in the restoration of the Lorenzo Theater!

So where do we go from here? Well, let me tell you that today is the culmination of 3 1/2 years of hard work that is going to lead us to even harder more challenging work.

Three and a half years ago, I started this Foundation with the purpose of this effort to be shared and contributed to by not only volunteers but also to be supported by not only businesses in the San Lorenzo area, but by all in what I defined as the area a restored Lorenzo Theater would serve, all of Alameda County. This had been in large measure a major reason for our successes leading up to today. Supervisor Gail Steele has provided an immense amount of support as well as has the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association. For this I sincerely thank you for all your help in the past and the help you will provide towards the future. I also want to thank the Alameda County Planning Department for all their assistance they have provided and will continue to provide as well as the support of the Hayward Daily Review. I also need to seriously thank all the volunteers that have contributed so many hours of help to get us to this announcement today as well as all of those generous supporters who donated over $14,000 towards the building acquisition fund... And oh, I want to thank Dr. Salwan and his family for their generosity in helping this dream come closer to reality!

Briefly, digressing back to support by local businesses, I want to thank First California Title and their sister company United Title Insurance, located just down the street at 17725 Hesperian Blvd. Joining in the spirit of the community efforts, they will handle the escrow of the sale of the Lorenzo Theater and will donate all of their proceeds from this transaction back to the Lorenzo Theater Foundation!

Let me put out the call here and now. Now, more than ever, is the time for everyone here in the East Bay to get behind this project and make this a reality. I challenge local businesses to step up and get behind us and provide all the support they can. Dr. Salwan and his family, through their generous donation have opened up for others to get their own names in lights inside a showcase for all to see! For a $200,000 donation you can also have your name in a poster sized plaque, lit 24 hrs a day 7 days a week!

If you are a contractor or a tradesperson, there is a great need for inkind donations to help us restore this magnificient building and to keep restoration costs reasonable. Our plan right now is to save one showcase to highlight all the inkind donations from tradespeople and contractors.

With all that is going on in the United States and the world right now and people wanting to spend more time at or near home, there is no better time than RIGHT NOW to join together and restore our historical sites to share with future generations to come. The Lorenzo Theater is exactly one of those "historical sites" to share and enjoy. I challenge everyone to "become" part of this historical building's history and to prove to the world, in our own small way they "can't keep us down".

Nancy Shelvy Board of Directors Lorenzo Theater Foundation (510) 317-6640 Artdeco47@comcast.net

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