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March 24th, 2009 No comments

Proctor’s theatre in downtown Troy is the last of Troy’s grand movie houses still standing. While it has fallen into disrepair in recent decades, it is a spectacular piece of our city’s history, as well as a building on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The City of Troy, Columbia Development Corporation, and RPI (the current owner) are attempting to secure a $5,000,000 grant from RestoreNY for a redevelopment project which will preserve the theatre’s facade, while demolishing the theatre itself.  We protest this plan for the following reasons:

  1. A proposal to tear down Proctor’s Theatre should have concrete plans drawn.  Just announcing a $15 million dollar project doesn’t mean there is a plan.  Where are the drawings?  The city should show compelling reasons that a theater on the National Register of Historic Places needs to come down.  Right now all that exists is a press release.
  2. If RPI, Columbia, and the city are serious about this project, they should be required to put a substantial amount of the construction funds into an escrow account to prove commitment.  (Where are we with the other grand projects that have been announced?  And what about the severe economic downturn?)
  3. The public should welcome development, but should remember Troy’s history.  Hundreds of buildings were leveled over the years with promised projects that never materialized.  Remember the many years of  the several-block hole downtown, pre-Atrium.  Remember the row of brownstones demolished on Fifth Ave for a medical center that never appeared.  Yes, development is good and needed.  But we need smart development.  Proctor’s should not be demolished to make a shovel ready site for a theoretical project.proctors2
  4. The theatre should remain standing.  This is the last of its kind in the city.  There used to be the Griswold, the Lincoln, the Troy and an array of small theaters like the American and the Fifth Ave theater at Hoosick.  PROCTOR’S IS THE LAST SURVIVING GREAT MOVIE PALACE OF TROY!  Every effort should be made by the city to seek money from the state for the theater’s restoration – even if there is no immediate use for the space.

Please help us prevent this terrible mistake, and sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/troyproc/petition.html.  Over a thousand people have already signed, and we welcome your support.

You can also join the “Save Proctor’s Theatre” Facebook  group at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=74040731960&ref=nf

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