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Park Theatre in Jaffrey will become a regional arts center. 

$2M federal loan

Jaffrey's Park Theatre secures funds to build regional arts center

JAFFREY — The reconstruction of the Park Theatre on Main Street into a regional arts center is on track to start next summer after the Board of Trustees secured a $2 million federal loan.

"The Park Theatre project is set to take an important step," Board Chairwoman Caroline Hollister said in a statement last week. "Thanks to support from the community, the campaign to raise $100,000 for a $200,000 tax credit match from New Hampshire's Community Development Finance Authority was successful. Having the USDA-RD loan approved means that it is time to demolish the existing structure and prepare the site for reconstruction. The tax credits from the Community Development Finance Authority, matched by the generosity of the community, make that possible."

The effort to reopen the old movie house as a regional arts center hit a snag earlier this year when the board learned that a renovation of the building would not be possible. The cost of the project went up because a demolition and then reconstruction was necessary, said project media director Mia Moravis on Friday.

"The loan made it so they could take the important step of razing the building and getting the old structure out of the way and securing the integrity of the grounds ... so the new construction can take place," Moravis said.

Demolition is planned to take place shortly after the Thanksgiving Day holiday, she said.

The board hopes the reconstruction will begin this summer.

It has been eight years since the grassroots effort began to restore the old Art Deco movie house that opened in 1922 and closed in 1976.

Dec. 5 annual meeting

Trustees plan to unveil a broader time table and plans for reconstruction at the theater's annual meeting at 5 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Jaffrey Woman's Club. The annual meeting is free to the public and includes live music, entertainment and refreshments, in addition to a project report to the community.

Fundraising for the project is ongoing, Moravis said, adding the federal loan speaks volumes to the importance of the project.

"I think the project itself has a lot of integrity. I know a lot of the people in the community can't wait," Moravis said.


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