MILBRIDGE – The group GATEWAY:Milbridge is looking to revitalize the town, starting with bringing back the Milbridge Theatre.
Since the 1930s, it stood in the town of Milbridge. It was a building that offered a place for kids to hangout, while also providing parents with solace. When the Milbridge Theatre closed in 2014, it left a void in the hearts of many.
“It was just an integral part of the entertainment for Milbridge,” said Cathy Chipman, the secretary of GATEWAY:Milbridge.
“It was my movie theatre when I was a kid,” said Crystal Hitchings, the chair of the group, “I understand the social tradition and the importance of a community gathering place.”
So far they have raised over $70,000.
“We’ve been lucky that we have been able to raise, in approximately 11 months, the funds necessary to purchase the building,” said Chipman.
Purchasing the building was only half of the challenge.
“A lot of damage occurred, and was occurring for many years,” said Hitchings, “It’s gotten too far beyond.”
They are reconstructing the theatre from the inside and out, implementing a stage outside and a garden.
“We plan to have live performances and movies,” said Danielle Woerner, the vice-chair, “Kind of a multi use space – a very flexible one for the community.”
They believe the Milbridge Theatre will bring a strong year round film presence to the community. The revitalization of the arts will be a strong draw for tourism.
“We truly never thought we’d accomplish, what we accomplished in the short amount time that we have,” said Chipman, “We have had generous support, not just community support, but national support. People have been opened and giving to this project.
The theatre is just the first item on their list to revitalize.
“The theatre is the main focus,” said Chipman, “However, revitalizing Main Street is important, a healthy main street is a good indication of a healthy town.”