Construction of new Park Theatre in Jaffrey slated to begin soonBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent August 03. 2017 6:03AM
JAFFREY — Construction of the Park Theatre’s two-auditorium performance center in downtown Jaffrey is set to begin next month.
Park Theatre CEO Steve Jackson said Tuesday while just under $150,000 needs to be raised, the major contributors gave the thumbs up for construction to begin.
“All our major funders said it’s a go,” Jackson said. “We still have to raise that money over the next month, but we have a pretty good sense of where it’s coming from.”
The Park Theatre’s exact construction start date in September will be announced in late August after construction arrangements are finalized with the project’s bank, the town’s various departments and USDA.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is the lead funder for the rebuilding of the Park Theatre through its Community Facilities Program. The program, administered by USDA Rural Development, provides financial support to essential community facilities. This is a project more than a decade in the making, Jackson said.
Jackson said Hutter Construction of New Ipswich will be leading the construction.
“They’ve done so many major buildings in the Monadnock Region and beyond; we have incredible confidence. They’ve seen it all. They’ve done it all,” Jackson said.
The Park Theatre project has been bolstered this year with the opening of the River Street Theatre. The theater that seats less than 30 people opened in January in anticipation of the reconstruction of the Park Theatre on Main Street.
It has established a local following and is attracting patrons from far and wide.
“I’ve got people from Worcester, (Mass.) I’ve got people from Albany (N.Y.) that are coming to see this,” Jackson said, “And this is with our tiny little theater.”
Being an integral part of youth and educational programs in the region is also part of the mission of the Park Theatre, he added.
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.
About 11 years ago, Caroline Hollister helped start a grassroots campaign to restore the theater. The group purchased the building in 2006.