MONTICELLO, NY — Specialists in theater development have been exploring potential new uses for Monticello’s long-shuttered Broadway Theater. Closed and neglected for more than three …
MONTICELLO, NY — Specialists in theater development have been exploring potential new uses for Monticello’s long-shuttered Broadway Theater. Closed and neglected for more than three decades, it’s been acquired by the Sullivan County Land Bank, which obtained a grant for the study from New York State’s Empire State Development agency. The work will establish a vision for the theater and a program for its rehabilitation, which will then be used to seek capital funding.
“Programs that provide grants for building repairs and redevelopment want to see that we have a plan for how the funds will be used. We need to know things like whether we keep all the seats, fewer seats, or reconfigure the space in a totally new way,” said land bank executive director Jill Weyer.
AEA Consulting, which is preparing the study, has produced a draft report that contains a market assessment and a discussion of existing models for reviving the building. These include a traditional stage/cinema, a multi-use flexible cultural venue and a cabaret/music venue with hospitality operations and a cultural activity-based community center. The report looks at examples from around the region, including the Cooperage Project in Honesdale, Newburgh’s Safe Harbors on the Hudson Ritz Theater, Beacon’s Towne Crier Café and a number of rehabilitation projects in Brooklyn.
The report identifies opportunities and directions for the theater, but the land bank and AEA are looking for more community input on what area residents and visitors would like to see. The draft notes a gap in facilities and programming for families and children, and suggests they be the primary audience. It also recommends a local focus and a reduction in capacity from the original 500 seats to no more than 100. A flexible configuration is being considered to allow for the widest variety of uses.
A survey is being conducted to ensure that the final report reflects community needs. To take the survey, go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/PVDGWYX.
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