M/cloudy
24°
M/cloudy
Hi 30° | Lo 5°

Jaffrey

Fundraising challenge is on

Jaffrey’s Park Theatre needs to raise $100,000 to begin construction this summer

  • The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.
    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.
    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.
    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.
    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • The Park Theatre kicked-off its latest fundraising campaign in late May in an effort to raise an additional$100,000 to begin renovations this summer.<br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

The Park Theatre has kicked off its latest fundraising campaign in an effort to raise $100,000 in donations that the state’s Community Development Finance Authority Tax Credit Program has pledged to match with $200,000 — tax credit funds the Park Theatre wasn’t expecting to receive until further along in the process. With $300,000 in hand by July 30, renovations to the historic Park Theatre can begin this summer, according to Caroline Hollister, president of the theater’s Board of Trustees.

But the work is also dependent upon whether or not the Park Theatre’s plan to renovate and reconstruct the Main Street theater is approved by the Planning Board following a public hearing slated for tonight.

In 2009, the state-run tax credit program awarded the Park Theatre $500,000 for demolition and site improvement work. Of the $500,000 in tax credits, the theater is slated to receive $400,000, with the remaining $100,000 paid into the program to support future projects, Hollister said last week. The $100,000 contribution is common, she noted.

After receiving the tax credit award in 2009, the Park Theatre created a Tax Credit Campaign Committee, whose members met with area business owners and by year’s end raised $200,000 towards their $500,000 goal. In 2010, the campaign raised an additional $286,000, bringing the total amount raised through tax credits to $486,000. The Park Theatre ultimately met its goal in 2011, with the understanding that tax credit funds would be distributed to the project soon after construction begins, according to Hollister.

But $200,000 of those funds could be distributed a bit earlier than expected, Hollister said, if the Park Theatre successfully raises an additional $100,000 in straight donations from residents and businesses, not tax credits, by July 30 of this year. Due to the recent economic downturn, Hollister said the Community Development Finance Authority — a nonprofit corporation established by state legislators in 1983 — wanted to help boost the theater’s fundraising efforts.

“We will raise $100,000 in brand new funds so that the CDFA will release $200,000 in tax credits already raised,” Hollister said of the theater’s latest fundraising campaign. “With that money, Hutter Construction Company [of New Ipswich] can then do all the demolition and site improvements that have to be made and we can show the community that we are truly making progress.”

According to CDFA literature, the tax credit program enables businesses to invest in a CDFA-approved project in exchange for a 75 percent state tax credit that can be applied against New Hampshire business enterprise, business profits and/or insurance premium tax. Business owners can also choose to have their contribution deducted from the business’s federal tax bill. Businesses can invest cash, securities or real property.

Today, the theater has peeling paint and rusted beams, but those invested in its restoration hope to one day soon return it to its former glory as the town’s go-to location for movies and local theater productions. The Park Theatre’s Board of Trustees has raised nearly $1 million to-date for this effort.

Hollister said she recognizes that a July 30 deadline to raise an additional $100,000 is ambitious, but added, “It’s not impossible, and if we don’t try we’ll never make it.” Since starting the campaign on May 24, Hollister said the Park Theatre has raised approximately $6,000 of its $100,000 goal, thanks to donations from individuals and businesses.

The overall cost of the renovation project is a bit uncertain, according to Hollister, until there is a full understanding of what will be required by the Planning Board. Once the trustees can nail down that cost, they will work to fine-tune other expenses, she said.

The trustees made a decision in 2011 to construct a “bare bones” facility, meaning the trustees intend to build only what is necessary to get the theater open and to start operations — for $1.25 million, according to the Park Theatre’s website. It is unclear at this time how much money will be needed beyond the $1.25 million to complete the theater. Previously, the trustees had streamlined the total cost of construction from $4.2 million to $2.5 million.

At full capacity, the renovated Park Theatre is expected to seat 324 guests, which when combined with theater volunteers could require approximately 100 parking spaces during any given event, Hollister said. The trustees estimate that about 290 events could be held at the theater annually.

Concerns from abutters and town officials in November about how the town will accommodate an increased demand for parking spaces downtown and how traffic would be impacted by construction may surface again when the project goes before the Planning Board. The Park Theatre property sits near the corner of state highway Route 202, Main Street and Route 137.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.