By News Release
JAFFREY — The Park Theatre announced Monday that the Savings Bank of Walpole will provide interim construction financing for the new 485-seat facility in downtown Jaffrey.
Savings Bank of Walpole joins NH’s Community Development Financing Authority, the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office, Hutter Construction Corporation and the Town of Jaffrey to complete the project to rebuild the once-center of community life. Reopened, The Park Theatre will present live performances, children’s programs, concerts, and films.
With the Theatre’s construction project team now in place, the groundbreaking date has been set for Wednesday, November 15.
“There are 10,000 moving parts to these final steps,” said Caroline Hollister, Park Theatre 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 to revitalize the Town. Since then, project’s trustees have raised over $5,000,000 to design, develop and fund the new construction.
“This is the quintessential grassroots project,” said Steve Jackson, The Park Theatre’s CEO and Managing Director. “Almost $1,000,000 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 $1,000,000 was donated by 38 private companies through NH’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 $2,000,000 low-interest loan from US 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,” Hollister said. “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.”
The Park Theatre first opened in Jaffrey in 1922 and was the center of community life as a movie and vaudeville house for 54 years until it closed in 1976. 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 and its 100,000 residents, school districts and dynamic artistic community. The new Park Theatre is scheduled to open in 2018.