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December 13, 2012

Nonprofit to operate Oneonta Theatre

Friends of the Oneonta Theatre will take over operation of the historic venue, preserving it as a performing arts center, the building’s owner, Tom Cormier, said Wednesday.

“We’re going to enter an agreement for them to operate the theater on a not-for-profit status,” he said.

“If I could wave my magic wand, this is what I would have wanted.”

The agreement came during a meeting Tuesday night with the six-member Friends’ board, said Patrice Macaluso, its president and chairwoman of the Theater Department at the State University of New York College at Oneonta.

It sets in motion a number of parallel efforts she said, including work to transfer the theater operation to nonprofit status.

“There are organizations that help you do things like this, and I’m already in touch with them,” she said.

She also said that she would like to expand Friends’ board.

“Right now there are six people on it, and one of our goals is to start building the board, now that we have this new resolve to move this forward. … We would like to get up to 10 people, maybe, 10 or 12.

“But underneath that, there are a lot more people who want to be part of the subgroups that help things happen. And that’s also what we’re trying to set up. So, it won’t be just the board. It’ll be trying to figure out how to engage all of the people who are coming forward to help with this effort, and there are a lot of people.”

To that end, she said the group may hold a public meeting at the theater, which is on the federal and state registers of historic places, between Christmas and New Year’s.

“Because a lot of people first saw it when it was really run down, and if they haven’t been back, I think part of it is to open up and show people what has been done,” she said.

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