Park Theatre reaches construction funding goal, no groundbreaking date set

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 He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.

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The Park Theatre 2018 – and just about ready to build!

Since 2005, trustees have secured $6,146,545 of the projected $6,702,390 total project cost—from the acquisition, care and stewardship, hazardous materials removal, demolition, design —and construction. The financial support has come from grants ($2,137,980) awarded by 36 foundations, from New Hampshire’s Community Development Financing Authority Tax Credit Program ($840,000 net), from individual donations ($1,168,565) given by 82 businesses and over 2,600 individuals from 39 New Hampshire towns and 26 states across the country, and, finally, from the project qualifying for a $2,000,000 low-interest, long-term loan from the USDA’s Office of Rural Development Community Facilities Program.

The Park Theatre is a recognized, charitable 501 (c) (3) corporation, # 20-305380. Financial support comes primarily from donors and institutional supporters. Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

The design/engineering for The Park Theatre’s new facility is completed. Subcontractor bid results were incorporated into final building plans submitted to the Town and the project has received the guaranteed maximum price from its contractor. The site was cleared and cleaned of all hazardous materials and is now ready for construction. The facility will be built according to the gold level of LEED standards. The construction is scheduled to begin in early 2018 and will take approximately 10 months.

The plan for The Park Theatre is fully compliant with all local, state and federal building requirements. The Town of Jaffrey has issued a building permit. Hutter Construction Company is managing contractor. Steve Horton is the Theatre’s Owner Representative. BKA Architects is chief architect. TF Moran provides the engineering expertise. Construction financing is made possible by Savings Bank of Walpole. Financial and accounting services are provided by Lynn C. Rust, CPA PC. Legal services are provided by the Tower, Crocker & Smith, the Law Offices of Thomas R. Hanna, and Fernald, Taft, Falby & Little, PA.

Future Needs
More funding will be needed. There are features and theatrical equipment that must be acquired soon after the construction starts. There are also other items that can be addressed later, such as installation of the four 1941 WPA murals and the Fifth Mountain Mural created to honor the Theatre’s history. Those and other optional items and finishing touches will be added as the needs present themselves and funding permits. The estimated cost of all those optional and future elements is about $1m. But all that is for later. The goal now is to make this brand new facility fully functional—and comfortable for our community.

Economic Impact
Two years after the decision to rebuild and reopen The Park Theatre was made, trustees mounted an unbroken series of theatrical seasons from February though the first week of December each year at locations all around downtown Jaffrey. In January 2017 trustees also created the River Street Theatre, a 28-seat facility in the heart of downtown to ‘bridge’ the time until construction starts and deliver a sampling of ‘things to come’.  Those theatrical seasons attracted over 14,000 people into downtown. Now River Street Theatre has attracted an additional 2,000 people. Over the past ten years, a total of 16,000 patrons have brought an estimated $200,000 in commerce to downtown merchants. That impact is consistent with the findings of three economic impact studies commissioned by Arts Alive! and the NH Council of the Arts and undertaken by Americans for the Arts during 2009, 2011 and 2015.  The Park Theatre participated in all of those studies.

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Groundbreaking Plan For Park Theatre Emerges

Hutter Construction coordinating sub-contractors for December start.

JAFFREY, New Hampshire (November 2, 2017) As construction nears, The Park
Theatre reported today that finishing touches are being put on groundbreaking as
soon as possible for the new 485-seat performing arts facility in downtown Jaffrey.
Originally built in 1922, the re-imagined and rebuilt-from-the ground-up Park
Theatre will present live theatrical performances, children’s programs, concerts,
and films. The dream of the community is becoming reality for the thousands of
fans and supporters of the Theatre.

Since June of this year, and the fulfillment of municipal codes, the project raised
over $800,000 for construction and has just received an anonymous $25,000
challenge match to raise the final funds required to start construction. The Town
issued the project its building permit last week. The construction management
team at Hutter Construction Corporation is coordinating schedules with its
subcontractors to begin work as soon as possible. “As we pull all these final pieces
together, it’s looking more and more like we’ll actually start sometime between
Thanksgiving and Hanukkah,” noted Caroline Hollister, chair of the Board of

Funds to develop and construct the new Theatre have been donated by thousands
of individuals and institutions. The major portion of the construction costs is
provided by USDA’s Rural Development Office’s $2,000,000 low-interest, longterm
loan which will be financed through the Savings Bank of Walpole. Additional
construction funds are being provided by 38 area businesses through their
donations to New Hampshire’s Community Development Finance Authority Tax
Credit program. A portion of those business donations through CDFA’s tax credit
program funded the 2013 demolition of the original theater building and
preparation of the site for construction. The remediation of hazardous materials
buried on site and throughout the original building was made possible by a grant
from Southwest Region Planning Commission and the generosity of many The
Park Theatre donors.

“Pending final materials and contractor costs, we are down to our last $50,000 to
finally get the work underway,” said Steve Jackson, CEO and Managing Director
of the Theatre. “Anyone who’d like to donate that amount will be the first one to
put that golden shovel in the ground!” he added. “We believe that this special
donation of what are, truly, the final funds needed to start, deserves a unique
recognition. The shovel is symbolic of starting something new, sowing seeds of
great things to come… to help grow our community.”

Trustees are planning to acknowledge the individual, business or foundation that
may step forward to contribute one gift of $50,000 by giving that donor the
opportunity to put the actual first shovel in the ground for the Monadnock’s
Region’s first community based performing arts center to be built in over 80 years.
The photograph of the donor making “the first dig” at the construction site with a
golden commemorative shovel will be made available to the press. Additionally,
that same photo and shovel, along with an engraved plaque recognizing the donor,
will be placed in a custom case in the new Theatre for all to see for years to come.
Anyone interested in The Park Theatre “Golden Dig” opportunity, or any other
recognition opportunities should call Steve Jackson at (603) 532-9300.

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Monadnock Profile: Stevens Jackson knows transforming power of community theater

Posted: Saturday, July 16, 2016 8:00 am | Updated: 9:28 am, Sat Jul 16, 2016.
By Cheyenne Vaughn Sentinel Staff View source link

steve-jackson-july-2016“Whassup?!” a man asks his friend over the phone while sitting on his couch drinking a Budweiser beer.

This isn’t Stevens Pell Jackson, but instead one of the many iconic commercials his team worked on for Anheuser-Busch before he became involved in Jaffrey’s Park Theatre.

For nearly 30 years Jackson worked in advertising and marketing for DDB (formerly Doyle Dane Bernbach), an advertising agency with headquarters in Jackson’s hometown of New York City.

“I joined them when I was a very young kid and I was low on the totem pole, and stayed with it over the years and eventually led the business on a global basis,” he reflects.

Anheuser-Busch was one of Jackson’s major clients during his time at DDB and his team’s advertising campaigns for Budweiser and Bud Light won “every major industry award including Cannes Gold Lions, Effies, Clios and Emmys,” according to Pell Partners, Jackson’s consulting firm.

These winning campaigns include Spuds MacKenzie, “Gimme A Light,” “Yes, I am,” “I Love you man” and the Budweiser Frogs, Ants and Clydesdales.

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The William David Eppes Auditorium

william-david-eppes-auditorium-mediumAt the end of 2015 The Eppes-Jefferson Foundation bestowed a substantial gift on The Park Theatre. Trustees have recognized the honor and generosity of the foundation’s gift with the naming of the main auditorium in honor of arts and humanities advocate, William David Eppes. Born in 1918, Mr. Eppes was a southern gentleman from Goodwater, Alabama, whose family’s roots in Colonial America traced back to Thomas Jefferson. Educated at the Birmingham Conservatory of Music, William and Mary College, George Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, the University of Miami, the University of Manchester (England), Columbia University, New York University and the University of Durham (England), Mr. Eppes is listed in the 37th Edition of Who’s Who in Finance and Business (2009) as a well known author, historian, preservationist and benefactor of the arts.

In 1996, Mr. Eppes moved to New England, making his home at RiverMead in Peterborough and established The Eppes-Jefferson Foundation to continue his support of the arts and humanities he had cherished during his lifetime. The foundation recognized that the vision guiding The Park Theatre was one shared by Mr. Eppes during his lifetime, and bestowed a substantial gift to the Theatre in his honor and as a living memorial to the man and the arts and culture.

Educated as a librarian, Mr. Eppes was employed at the libraries of George Washington University, California State University, Columbia University and The Cooper Union. He founded the Film Classics League and Backstage Gallery of St. Petersburg, Florida, and served on the boards of the Memphis Theatre Historical Society, Virginia Historical Society, McLeod Plantation, Sea Island Historical Society, Greenwich Village Trust for Historic Preservation, Inc., was Honorary Commissioner of the Eleanor Roosevelt Monument Fund, Inc., and member of the William and Mary Choir, New York Drama League, and the Society of the Descendants of Francis Eppes I of Virginia.

Throughout his life, Mr. Eppes maintained autograph letters, correspondence, memorabilia, photographs, and printed material by and about persons in the fine arts, theatre, literary and political world as well as playbills, programs, announcements and poster replicas of New York City theatres. The 2,310 items in The William David Eppes Collection of Arts Memorabilia is included in the Special Collections of the University of Virginia Library in Charlottesville. Among his collection is correspondence with Tallulah Bankhead, Harry S and Bess W Truman, Malcolm Forbes, Alfred Lunt and Armand Hammer. His collection of historic recordings include many Opening Nights of the Metropolitan Opera and the 1942 Premiere of ‘Porgy and Bess’ written at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough. In addition to contributing to a variety of historic journals and magazines, Mr. Eppes was a member of Authors’ Guild and wrote several books: The Empire Theatre 1893-1953 (1978), Gertrude Michael—A Star of the Golden Age of Hollywood (1985), Montgomery Theatre 1822-1985 (1986), and The House off Main Street, A Chronicle of the McCord-Eppes Family. ❦

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