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December 5, 2012

Oneonta Theatre to close Jan. 1

The Oneonta Theatre, buffeted by losses, will close its doors at the end of December, its owner confirmed Tuesday. But he’s not necessarily locking them.

“I’ve weathered this for a long time by myself,” said Tom Cormier. “I’m just at the point now that … I can’t stand here by myself and weather this anymore.”

He said that while he has put the building on the selling block, he’s not ruling out a partnership with a nonprofit organization committed to operating the theater.

The theater’s future “depends on whether I can muster the support for what I see really needs to happen for this place to stay alive,” he said.

“You have two choices: somebody with a lot more money than me walking in and buying the place and doing whatever they’re going to do with it.

“Or, what I would like to see, is a community, not-for-profit group come in and partner up with me and make this a lasting gem of this community, something that has the ability to educate, to nurture the arts, create entertainment, be an economic driving force and, in the process, not bleed me dry.”

Cormier will meet next week with the board of the nonprofit Friends of the Oneonta Theater, its president, Patrice Macaluso, said.

“I’m not sure where it will go from there, but we’re going to meet next week,” she said Tuesday night.

“I think it is safe to say the members of the board are very positive, they’re very pro-Tom Cormier,” she said. “He’s done a great job on the building. He’s done a good job of kind of pulling things together.”

Cormier bought the 115-year-old theater for $225,000 in June 2009. Initially, he worked with Friends to upgrade the building, which he described Tuesday as being in “disgusting” condition at the time.

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