Park Theatre ramps up fundraising

  • An artist’s rendering of the future Park Theatre. COURTESY IMAGE

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 6:57PM

Jaffrey’s Park Theatre has ramped up fundraising efforts ahead of a self-imposed deadline of June 30 to raise an additional $271,000.

Hoping to start construction in the fall, Park Theatre CEO and Managing Director Steve Jackson said that theater personnel and volunteers have taken to a tiered approach — seeking grants, starting a Gofundme page, hosting telethons, and hand to hand solicitation — to bring their fundraising total up to $5 million. 

“We really turned the juice on for a number of different fundraising campaigns in the past week,” said Jackson, in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “We’ve raised $16,442 this week alone. We have a small amount of time to raise these funds; it absolutely focuses everyone’s attention.” 

The Park Theatre Inc. has been raising funds for the theater — which was first opened in 1922 and was a movie and vaudeville house until it was closed in 1976 — since the group purchased the property in 2006. Jackson said that the current tiered approach of fundraising allows the theater to cast a wide net to capture many types of donors. 

“The Gofundme is another exciting tool,” said Jackson. “The social nature of it allows it to be shared, which it has been over 100 times.”

As of Sunday afternoon, $3,395 of the Gofundme’s $97,000 targeted goal had been raised, with donations raising in price from $10 to $500. To donate to the Gofundme, go to www.gofundme.com/parktheatre. 

Jackson said an influx of donations came into the office shortly after the news broke of the Park Theatre coming to an agreement with We Serve Him, LLC, the group that owns the Country Bridals building next to the theater. The Planning Board required an agreement about mitigation of potential construction impacts as a condition precedent for the approval of the Park Theatre’s renovations in an April 2016 decision. 

“A lot of people were waiting for that hurdle to be done with,” said Jackson. 

In total, Jackson said construction of the building represents about $3 million of the $5 million total to be fundraised, with the rest of the money being used for engineering, demolition, and other related costs. 

Jackson said that the June 30 deadline was self-imposed to ensure that construction would begin in the fall. Construction starting in the fall is important, according to Jackson, as winter construction would inflate the theater’s budget a bit. 

“We want to stay away from winter as it increases the cost,” said Jackson. “Constructing the building itself will take about eight months, but there are a lot of other things we have to do.”

Jackson admits that $5 million will not represent the end of fundraising for the theater, as a separate campaign will start during construction to raise funds for all of the equipment and items within the theater.

At this time, Jackson is unsure as to how much this second fundraising campaign will cost, as theater personnel are still picking out all of the equipment that will be used in the theater. 

Jackson believes the second campaign will be easier to raise funds for, as “people like to give to things they can touch.” Lighting, seating, popcorn makers and more will need to be purchased, with Jackson adding that there are recognition opportunities for those who give a certain amount. 

Jackson also said that as soon as the theater has an opening date, he will begin booking acts, which will add a level of realness for potential patrons. 

“Every time we secure an act, we will let the public know,” said Jackson. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com