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|New Jaffrey Theater to Break Ground in November|
|Published Friday, September 29, 2017|
The Park Theatre project in downtown Jaffrey will break ground Nov. 15.having secured interim construction financing for the new 485-seat facility from Savings Bank of Walpole. The bank joins NH’s Community Development Financing Authority, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office, Hutter Construction Corporation and the Town of Jaffrey to complete the project to rebuild the theatre. Once reopened, The Park Theatre will present live performances, children’s programs, concerts, and films.
“There are 10,000 moving parts to these final steps,” says Caroline Hollister, board chair. “Putting our team together has taken extra time and added extra costs. Our major funder gave us an end date and our project partners have now given us the start date. Between now and that date each member of the team has important and specific responsibilities. Ours is to raise those additional funds.”
The Park Theatre was the central feature of downtown Jaffrey from the day it opened in 1922 until it closed its doors during the winter of 1976. Rediscovered 25 years later, it inspired the community to resurrect it. Since then, project’s trustees have raised over $5 million to design, develop and fund the new construction. “This is the quintessential grassroots project,” says Steve Jackson, The Park Theatre’s CEO and managing director. “Almost $1 million has been donated by nearly 3,000 individuals and area businesses throughout New Hampshire and across the country. Another million has been awarded by 32 local and regional foundations, and over $1 million was donated by 38 private companies through New Hampshire’s Community Development Finance Authority tax credit program. Even the taxpayers of the Town of Jaffrey have contributed to the project at two town meetings.”
The major funding for construction is a $2 million low-interest loan from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office, which provides financial support to essential community facilities. Support for The Park Theatre aligns with the Agency’s mission to increase economic opportunity and quality of life in rural areas. “All of our partners, indeed, all of our supporters over the past 12 years have made this project possible,” says Hollister. “As it turns out, this new timing means we won’t be framing in the building until spring when we don’t have to worry about winter conditions. That will save us money.”
Purchased by The Park Theatre, Inc. in 2006, it will be rebuilt as a state-of-the-art film and performing arts center, featuring two auditoriums seating 485, presenting movies, live theatre, including children’s productions, concerts, and lectures as well as offering a place for business and community gatherings for the Monadnock Region. The new Park Theatre is scheduled to open in 2018. The Park Theatre currently operates the River Street Theatre, a small live entertainment and cinema venue, located adjacent to the construction site as an interim theatre until the new Park Theatre opens. Opened in January 2017, it holds the title of “smallest theatre in New England.”
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