Theatre lifted by financial support

September 11, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - While noticeable progress has been made this year on the planned Capitol Theatre Center, funding is still necessary for its completion and future upkeep.

That was the message from Paul Cullinane, president of Downtown Chambersburg Inc. (DCI), at a semi-annual town meeting Tuesday evening that drew about two dozen residents and business owners interested in hearing where several downtown projects stood.

Thanks to an almost $1.2 million donation from The Wood Foundation of Chambersburg, there is only a $700,000 shortfall for construction and DCI is halfway to its $2 million endowment goal, Cullinane said.


DCI is spearheading the project for the $5 million art center and expansion of the adjacent Capitol Theatre.

The Capitol Theatre Center will include a new lobby and concession stand for the 75-year-old theater, new parking, bathrooms and a gift shop. Eventually a 160-seat, second-floor performance area for community theater and recitals will be added.

Cullinane was pushing the endowment Tuesday, saying it will ensure the future of the theater, which operates at a $100,000 annual deficit.

"Part of the Wood donation includes $500,000 for the endowment as a matching grant to try and excite the community to reach the $2 million goal," he said.

The Chambersburg Area Development Corp. has also donated $250,000 to the endowment, and fund-raising from businesses has yielded $226,000 since June, Cullinane said.

"We're hoping by the end of the month to be at $1 million for the endowment," he said.

The vision for the Capitol Theatre Center began in 1993. So far seven structures on South Main and West Washington streets have come down to make room for the expanded theater and parking.

Eventually, the Chambersburg Area Council for the Arts, the Chambersburg Ballet Theater School and the Caledonia Theatre Co. will have their homes in the center.

Cullinane said DCI does not have all of the funds yet to complete the inside of the first and second floors of the center, but by May the exterior and much of the interior work will be done.

Another major downtown project Cullinane focused on at Tuesday's meeting was the successful renovation and leasing of Chambersburg Area Development Corp. Professional Suites, 75 S. Main St.

DCI did some work on the building and sold it to the corporation, which did more improvements and has rented the office space to seven tenants, including the Chambersburg Area Council for the Arts.

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