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Quad City native looks to turn old House of Praise church into new theater

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MOLINE-- One look at the old House of Praise church in Moline and you see a building in ruins, but Curtis Lewis sees his dream theater.

"This is where I started. I started at 9 years old I was very quiet and very fearful and every Sunday we would put on a 20 to 30 minute play," says Lewis, who grew up in the old church where his grandfather preached.

Lewis, director and founder of Journey Live Production, a traveling theater company, took over the church on 5th avenue in Downtown Moline, after the church relocated in 2007.

Now Lewis hopes to turn the building into a community theater for young people.

"(Acting will) help them find themselves because when you channel a different energy (you say to yourself) wow I didn't know I had that in me. It's an inward thing first and once you find out what's inside of you, you're unstoppable," says Lewis.

The project will cost between $50,000 to $100,000. Lewis is raising the money through a GoFundMe page as well as other fundraisers through the theater company.

Construction on the theater will start at the end of this week, Lewis hopes to open the new theater sometime next year.