Park Theatre reaches construction funding goal, no groundbreaking date set

By NICHOLAS HANDY
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, October 01, 2018
Original article: See Link

The Park Theatre has officially raised all money needed to begin construction on a state-of-the-art film and performance arts center in downtown Jaffrey.

While all $3.5 million needed for construction has been raised, CEO Steve Jackson said Thursday that a groundbreaking date cannot be set until the USDA’s Rural Development Office gives final approval on a $2 million low interest, long-term loan.

“We’ve had our champagne ready for a while now, but no one is popping the bottles until construction has started,” Jackson said.

Jackson would not speculate when construction would begin as he is unsure when the USDA will finalize their review. The Park Theatre has been pre-approved for the Community Facilities Program loan since 2013 but plans for the theater have undergone a number of tweaks and updates since that time, Jackson said.

“We’re right down to the wire, we are at the door, we are on the cusp,” Jackson said. “They have to do their due diligence. We supplied them everything they need.”

Jackson said construction is estimated to take about 12 months from shovels in the ground to furnishing and decorating.

Starting construction will help to kick off the second round of fundraising – securing funds for projectors, seating, lighting, office equipment, furniture, and other equipment and furniture for the interior of the building.

“We want to make sure it’s a fine-tuned machine,” Jackson said.

The theater has raised well over $6 million since 2005 – money that has covered not only construction costs, but also architectural plans, legal bills, buying the property where the theater will be located, engineering, operating costs, and more.

Last September, the Park Theatre set a construction date of Nov. 15, 2017 but a number of delays pushed construction back.

The first iteration of the Park Theatre opened in 1922. The theater served as a movie and vaudeville house until it closed in 1976. People have been working to open a new Park Theatre since 2005.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.

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