71 Genesee Street,
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A small village theatre located on the village square, the Park Theatre was opened July 30, 1938. Plain outside and inside but it had a comfortable feel to it. The theatre had some nice gumwood trim and entry doors. The woman who owned and ran it for the last six years kept it clean and tidy. It had sort of a homey atmosphere and we enjoyed seeing “Secondhand Lions” on its quite acceptable size screen. There were tables and chairs in the lobby area where you could sit and have coffee before the movie started.
“I knew of this theatre for 15 or more years. I’d always pass through the village at the wrong time of day and the theatre was always closed. A couple of years ago I passed through the village and I noticed a sign on the marquee advertising an auction two nights a week. I presumed the theatre had closed and become an auction house but this was not the case.
I found out later the theatre operated only on weekends and only in the winter — yes, the winter. When driving through the village in October, I noticed a for sale sign on the building, so naturally I called. Here’s what $74,900 buys in a small New York village. A theatre building containing the following: a 200 seat movie theatre, two small store fronts and a small second floor apartment. Unfortuately, there’s a 3 screen drive-in in the same village —this explains the summer shutdowns. The approx. 10 plex fifteen minutes away doesn’t help either.
We decided to check it out anyway. On a Saturday night in November of 2003 we and 12 others watched “Secondhand Lions”. The theatre wasn’t for me but would have been great for a retired person who dreamed of owning a theatre. Live in the apartment, try to rent the small store fronts and with luck make enough to pay the utilities and taxes. I thought, however, maybe I should submit this to Cinema Treasures to list in the theatres for sale section.
Here’s were the tragic part comes in. A business man who restores antique cars wanted the theatre for storage and made a verbal offer to the owner at slightly under asking price. The owner gave a verbal acceptance. The very next day an offer was made through the listing agent a full asking price by people who were going to keep the theatre open. Unfortunately, the verbal offer was binding and Avon has lost its theatre."
In July 2018 the Park Theatre got a new owner. Two grants have been recieved for a restoration of the theatre and a ‘not-for-profit’ group is being set up to operate it.
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