UTICA — The nonprofit Uptown Theatre for Creative Arts (UTCA) is partnering with the Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties to restore Utica's Uptown Theatre.

The Community Foundation will invest $25,000 to help UTCA install a new heating system and renovate the lobby, according to Thursday's announcement. UTCA envisions the lobby, according to the release, as a multi-purpose space.

“We felt this was an important investment as the newly renovated theatre will provide our community with a safer, more energy-efficient facility for gatherings and events," said Morgan Mielnicki, community investment coordinator for the Community Foundation in a statement. "These renovations will not only enhance the aesthetics of the lobby, but will open doors for new opportunities and entertainment in the area."

Work is underway on the lobby. The goal is to open it by the end of 2018.

The lobby renovations mark the second of a multi-phase endeavor involved with restoring the Uptown Theatre. The first phase involved the completion of new studio and classroom space earlier this year as well as the addition of a mural on the south side of the building. Following the lobby, the next phase will involve the restoration of the theater area.

“The Uptown means so much to so many people," UTCA Co-Founder Devin Mahoney said in a statement. "I grew up seeing movies there. Everyone just wants to see the doors open again and we see transforming the lobby as the way to make that happen as soon as possible. We’re thrilled to partner with the Community Foundation. Their support will keep the project moving forward.”