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Operational plan for Colonial Theatre is not ready for prime time

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

On Wednesday, Sept. 13 citizens in Laconia woke up to the newspaper headline screaming that our mayor thought it would be a good idea to give another 1.2 MILLION dollars to the Colonial Theater to help with the continued effort to bring it back to its previous glory.

Please know this about me; I love history — all kinds, I work in one of the most historic buildings in our city, in this state and some would say in this country. I believe that we learn from history, that everyday somewhere someone is making history and it is all important. I firmly believe that historical structures should not be torn down without due diligence to ensure that there is no other option available. When the Colonial was finally purchased and there was true hope that it would be restored, I could not have been more thrilled. When I get the chance to walk down Main Street I love peeking in the entrance windows – I can’t see much of the inside but I can imagine! I look forward to the day when I can walk through those doors and experience the beauty that I know is in there!

However, I also strongly believe that you cannot go forward, successfully, with any project unless all preparations, research and double checking have been completed. And this, in simplest terms, is why I cannot sit back and watch our city waste any more money on the restoration of this building at this time. Restoring a building of the Colonial’s worth — in the history of Laconia and the hearts of its citizens — is important, very important and must absolutely be done. But doing so haphazardly is a huge mistake and will only create an incredibly expensive mess for the future of this city.

Currently, I understand that no true and detailed business plan is in place. No plan for sustainability for the needs of the Colonial or the block of businesses and floors above has been created. I do not believe that there is any effort being made to find an executive director or someone of that nature who can create and build programming for the Colonial to offer. If there are not enough funds to restore it now, we can be assured there are no funds being saved for future repairs and maintenance. IF there is a clear plan in place to establish sources of revenue that will help pay back the city’s financing of this renovation and help sustain the building needs for the future (basically not be a constant strain on the city budget), I only ask that it be publically presented.

I encourage every citizen who was taken aback by last week’s headline or feels that more information is needed before any more money is given, to take a stand. Contact Scott Myers, city manager and let him know that he is the keeper of your money and that you expect him to spend it wisely. Contact your Ward councilor, their contact information is below; share your thoughts – they are your representative and must act accordingly while in their position. Finally, please make a point to come out and attend the next city council meeting on Monday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Please show how you feel about where your money is spent! As well, don’t hesitate to speak up at this meeting during the public session and speak out through letters like these.

Scott Myers – 527-1270
Mayor Edward Engler – 630-4484
Councilor Ava Doyle – 393-6533
Councilor David Bownes – 524-4330
Councilor Henry Lipman – 528-0191
Councilor Brenda Baer – 524-6349
Councilor Robert Hamel – 524-6360
Councilor Armand Bolduc – 524-2514

Tara Shore

Laconia