Re-Opening the Oneonta Theatre?

A feasibility study into whether the Oneonta Theater should open back up is generating community support.

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 6:14 PM

The Oneonta Theatre used to be a top notch place for entertainment. It has deteriorated over the years and finally closed up a few years ago, but Friends of the Oneonta Theater Chairwoman- Patrice Macaluso says there’s new interest in re-opening the theatre.

"This has everything a theatre would have behind the screen, so that embarked my interest, and then as I started to talk to more people, so many people were interested in bringing it back, but so many said it just can’t happen. It just can’t happen."

The Oneonta Historical Society and Friends of the Oneonta Theater, hired a consulting firm to explore the idea of re-opening the Oneonta Theatre. Bob Brzozowski is the Executive Director Oneonta Historical Society:  "There’s a tremendous interest here in saving the building, which has a story history, but there are some challenges."

Aside from raising the money needed, Oneonta has a relatively small population with a median income level lower than many areas around the state. The $60,000 feasibility study examines whether the theatre could be a success.

Patrice Macaluso:  "What we get from that is those kind of numbers. Really itemized out from people who have done this for 400 other theatres, so they really know what they’re looking at."

They’re not going into the project blind. The Historical Society has seen budgets from other not-for-profits that run theatres, but the study will have to determine whether this project is an option. Bob Brzozowski:  "It pretty much runs the gamut of the number of staff they have, their operating budget, what percentages come from."

There has been a good response from the community so far, and Otego Resident Joseph Halbert explained why.

"I’m excited if that’s what they’re going to do because it was something that we looked forward to. There’s not a lot to do in this area, and they used to bring really good bands here. Rather than cover bands, they used to bring real bands."

Consulting firm Webb Management Services is expected to return with a business plan and final costs for renovations in late January or early February.

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