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JLG gifts goive life to Capitol Theatre

June 17, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Officials from JLG Industries of McConnellsburg, Pa., handed over a $50,000 check to the Capitol Theatre Center Tuesday and something else that should prove useful in changing light bulbs.

John Spittler, an inside sales support specialist, emerged from behind a curtain in the center at the controls of a JLG Axxessor vertical mast, an electric-powered work platform that can extend up to 20 feet high.

"We were wondering how we were going to change these light bulbs," Ann Wagner, chairman of Downtown Chambersburg Inc., said, looking up at the 16-foot ceilings of the Wood Center in the theater complex.

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"No more human pyramids," said Chambersburg Borough Council President William F. McLaughlin.

It was the second piece of equipment JLG has donated to the Capitol Theatre, according to Sam Swope, the company's vice president of human resources.

Several years ago, the Fulton County manufacturer donated another lift for use in changing props and lights in the Capitol Theatre, which is owned by Downtown Chambersburg Inc.

The company also donated the use of other equipment while a new addition was being added to the theater, Swope said.

Spittler said the lift donated Tuesday is worth about $13,600.

Swope said the Capitol Theatre center "blends economic and community development" with diverse programs that benefit families and youths. Although JLG's headquarters are outside of Franklin County, he said it is a regional resource and "we would hope our work force makes good use of the facility."

Since Downtown Chambersburg Inc. acquired the theater eight years ago, about $5 million in public and private funds have been invested in its restoration and expansion. Downtown Chambersburg President Paul Cullinane called the theater "an essential dynamic in downtown revitalization."

"The preservation and restoration of a facility like Capitol Theatre is a monumental undertaking," McLaughlin said. State funding and private and public contributions have kept the 77-year-old theater from becoming "another empty shell of a building in downtown Chambersburg," he said.

Cullinane said the center saved $1.2 million of what will eventually be a $2 million endowment, Cullinane said. The $50,000 gift from JLG, however, will be used for salaries, utilities and other operational costs, as well as box office improvements and equipment purchases, he said.

JLG is Fulton County's largest employer with about 1,800 people at its McConnellsburg plant, Swope said. The company employs about 3,000 people worldwide, he said.

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