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Peekskill's Paramount To Suspend Operations

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.”

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