Meredith Village Savings Bank has committed to a $350,000 donation to the Belknap Economic Development Council (EDC) for the Colonial Theater Redevelopment Project in Laconia. The Bank’s investment is a significant contribution to the renovation of the Colonial Theatre and its transformation into a civic auditorium.
$200,000 of the donation is through the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority’s (CDFA) tax credit program.
Located at 609 Main Street in the heart of downtown Laconia, the Colonial Theater has long been of great interest to city and business leaders. “We are thankful to the Belknap EDC and the local leadership who are committed to the hard work of renovating a once beautiful theater back to its former glory,” said Rick Wyman, President of Meredith Village Savings Bank. “Having a civic auditorium in the heart of downtown Laconia will continue to spur people to live, work and play in the Lakes Region.”
The Colonial Theater has entered its first phase of rehabilitation, beginning with the demolition of a move cinema partition that was installed in 1980s, though the theater had once hosted circuses and vaudeville acts when it first opened in 1914. The movie theater has since closed in the early 2000s.The project will turn the 101-year structure into a civic auditorium.
“We’re so thankful for the generous contribution of Meredith Village Savings Bank,” said Justin Slattery, Executive Director of the Belknap EDC. “This is a major investment in both the theater’s and city’s revitalization. Our goal is to eventually fill the entire space with businesses and services that complement its role as a civic auditorium.” The renovation consists of rehabilitating 38,000 square feet of space, which includes a 20,000 square-foot theater, as well as commercial and residential spaces in front of the building.
Belknap EDC was founded in 1992 with the mission of promoting economic vitality in Belknap County and the Greater Lakes Region. One of ten non-profit regional development corporations in New Hampshire, Belknap EDC aims to attract and retain young talent, support creative entrepreneurs, enhance workforce development programs and remain a pro-active catalyst, partner and investor in property development that enhances economic opportunity in Belknap County. For more information, visit belknapedc.org.
Photo caption (left to right): Randy Eifert, Belknap EDC Chair, Gracie Cilley, Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer for MVSB, Justin Slattery, Executive Director of Belknap EDC, Rick Wyman, President of Meredith Village Savings Bank, Ed Engler, Mayor of Laconia and Belknap EDC Director.