Peekskill's Paramount To Suspend Operations

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The Paramount Center For The Arts in Peekskill will suspend its operations. Photo Credit: Art Cusano
The Paramount Center For The Arts in Peekskill Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – The Paramount Center For The Arts will suspend operations while it explores options to reorganize, the venue's board chairperson announced Wednesday.

Vinnie Vesce, in a statement released Wednesday evening, said the decision was made at the board’s executive meeting Tuesday night.

"The Paramount apologizes for the inconvenience we have caused our members, all those who have purchased tickets to our shows that will have to be cancelled or delayed and to the friends of the Paramount who have been supportive of our efforts to provide a diverse menu of high quality performances and visual arts exhibits over the years. We ask for all our patrons and supporters to bear with us as we dedicate our efforts towards re-emerging as one of the premier performance venues in the Hudson Valley in the not-too-distant future."

Mayor Mary Foster said she became aware of the venue’s financial struggles over the summer.

“The city supports the Paramount – we continue to do that,” Foster said.  “We give the Paramount a $50,000 cash contribution. We take care of major repairs to the exterior facade of the facility itself. And, we pay the electric bill. In the past few years, the Paramount has been reimbursing the city for the electric bill, but last year and this year they have not had the ability to do that because of their own financial crunch.”

The city owns the Paramount building itself but performances and operations are run by a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization that has also been responsible for the recent renovations of the theater.

“The Paramount is a very important performance venue for the city and when they have booked shows our businesses downtown and elsewhere in the city do well,” Foster said.

It's important that the Paramount, as a performance venue, continues because it's a business-driver for the city’s downtown businesses, Foster said. “We know so many cultural and not-for-profits are struggling in this economy and I think this is indicative of just how deep the economic challenges are for everyone."

The city’s ability to help the venerable venue was limited as the city faces its own financial struggles, but Foster said Peekskill was willing to work with other stakeholders to attempt to help acquire funding for the Paramount.

“We've announced our own extremely difficult budget, and our challenges are really being driven by state mandates,” Foster said. “The state requirements into the pension fund is something nobody would've comprehended two years ago, so we don't have the extra cash to tide over their cash crisis.”

Check back for more on this breaking story.

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Comments (7)

sayitsnotso:

What do you expect from a city that is the subsidized housing capital of Westchester, has a dollar store on every corner, made it itself into the starving artist center which generates little to nothing in revenues, and wants to build 30 million dollar fire house.

dors:

We will be there, front and center, when they reopen. So sad to read this news.

Putnam 1955:

This has been a long time coming and many in the business community had previously demanded that something be done about the Paramount because its deficiencies have been glaringly obvious. All the Downtown businesses depend on the Paramount because there is no other attraction in the city that can bring in over 1000 visitors in an evening- people who will actually spend money in their establishments. I know firsthand what it's all about- I had my Side Effects shop directly across the street from the Paramount for 7 years, and for 7 years I watched the mismanagement with my own eyes. If any private business operated the way the Paramount does, it would be out of business in less than a year. There is no reward for success and no penalty for failure. And that's the story of what happens when Government officials decide to run an organization that they have no idea whatsoever how to operate. A total disgrace. But will anyone be fired or lose a dime's pay? Will there be consequences for any of those (including Mr. Vesce) who are responsible for this? Someone I doubt it.

Happy Day:

So upset about this! We go to the Paramount every few months. It is a beautiful theater with affordable shows. On show night the area restaurants are backed. I hope they can reorganize and be back up running soon! I would hate to see it sold.

nancy.mccarthymangels:

Agree with Putnam 1955....this is sad.....

Putnam 1955:

The answer is simple and should have been done long ago: privatize the theater and rent it to a for profit business person /entrepreneur. The City needs to charge rent for the facility and let the tenant pay the bills instead of the taxpayers. This was done with an investor in Port Chester's Capitol theater and that place is now a huge success. It's insane for the City managers to give a not for profit a $1 a year lease.

kkourie:

So sad to read this. We love The Paramount and look forward to it's Gala reopening. A big loss to our community.

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