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I would also like to address Bruce’s comments regarding the theater, as well as respond to the guys who currently own the theater.
The money that had been raised already is still in a savings account. There are plans to give these monies to the Irvington Historical Society. The foundation had tried to communicate this to eveyone who gave so generously. We are sorry if this didn’t happen.
It’s true that people have been talking about restoring the theater for several years. The foundation was active for three years and went through some serious learning curves. The bottom line is that getting a project like this done right can take many years. I visited many other historic theaters around the state and some of the more successful ones had taken nearly 10 years and were still not completed. The upkeep alone can be incredibly expensive.
The foundation had admittedly been floundering for 2 years and we were turning the corner—slowly. We had several community groups that were interested in helping us—and we were trying to work out the risks involved as far as financing. It takes lots of research, planning and a big picture vision in order to make it happen. In the end, the owner just couldn’t afford to wait any longer.
The bottom line is that it would have been very difficult to maintain the property as a non-profit. It also takes much more community support. We are hoping that the internet cafe guys can make a go of it. Everyone in the community wants to see the theater be the cornerstone of the old main street in Irvington. We look forward to that time. I know that if that’s accomplished, many more improvements will follow.
The advice I would give to Bruce is: Please contact the new owners and see how you can help and pick up a screwdriver and get your hands dirty. It’s lots harder than it looks. No one sets out to fail in these matters…we certainly didn’t intend to. We’re happy that work is moving forward.