Colonial Theatre

A Laconia City Council vote on Monday night appears to have cleared the way for work to begin on renovation of the Colonial Theatre on Laconia's Main Street. (Adam Drapcho/The Laconia Daily Sun photo)

LACONIA — A procedural vote by the City Council on Monday night clears the way for the final steps necessary to get the long-delayed refurbishment of the Colonial Theatre underway, likely in early October.

In July, the City Council gave unanimous final approval for the sale of $6.7 million in bonds to fund the downtown project. 

Bond counsel subsequently determined that an additional state law needed to be referred to in the language of the motion. That required the Monday night City Council vote.

“I don’t want to hex anything, but hopefully that will be the last time we have to pass those resolutions,” Mayor Ed Engler said.

After the meeting, he said a bid process for the project is underway. The bids should be in about Sept. 25. If all goes according to plan, the deal would close in time for construction to start the first week in October, he said.

Early on, the city loaned $1.4 million to the Belknap Economic Development Council to buy the theater, so its overall financial commitment will be $8.1 million.

The $13.5 million project, which also relies on state, federal and private money, has been beset by delays.

In 2017, the project was unable to get New Market Tax Credits as organizers worked through increasing cost estimates for the intricate construction work required. Mascoma Bank ultimately awarded the credits elsewhere.

Mascoma was not included in the next two yearly rounds of allocations and ultimately, New Market Tax Credits did not become part of the complicated funding package for the project.

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