A Press Conference Celebration was held at 10:30 AM inside The Goodwill Theatre building at 36 Willow Street, Johnson City on Wednesday June 26 at 10:30 AM.
Kevin McCabe, Regional Representative for NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo, Tina Ruocco representing NYS Senator Thomas Libous, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo along with County Executive Debbie Preston, Town of Union Supervisor Rose Sotak, Village of Johnson City Mayor Greg Deemie were present to give remarks in addition to Goodwill Theatre President Nancy Phillips.
Following demolition of two non-historic buildings in the fall of 2011, Goodwill Theatre has now completed further stabilization of the exterior of the Goodwill Theatre building and most important; the cleanup of the interior. The old theater rigging was safely removed along with all asbestos and toxic materials. We are very excited to announce that the Goodwill Theatre building is now clean and safe for workers to continue the rehabilitation and for the public to be able to tour the building. Goodwill Theatre Inc. will begin scheduling guided Tours for the general public this summer and fall. By taking part in future guided tours, people will be able to see the beautiful interior of the Goodwill Theatre for themselves. We are looking for volunteers who want to be trained to give these tours. We are also interested in gathering stories from former patrons and employees of the Goodwill Theatre. “We want to preserve those memories as we continue to rehabilitate the building, ” says Goodwill Theatre CEO, Naima Kradjian.
The recent stabilization & clean up of the Goodwill Theatre anchor building was funded by NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation environmental protection Fund through the Susquehanna Heritage Area program and RESTORE, NY funds which Senator Tom Libous and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo helped Goodwill Theatre secure. CDBG funding from the Town of Union and Village of Johnson City was also used as well as HUD funding from Congressman Maurice Hinchey.
Goodwill Theatre will inject another half million dollars into the Southern Tier economy in 2013 as a result of the last round of Southern Tier Regional Council grants. This fall the Firehouse will be re-pointed and the final plans for connecting the Firehouse to the Goodwill Theatre building will be completed.
Hundreds of construction jobs will be created as the eventual Complex is built. The completed Complex & Academy will require staff and instructors creating 65 new jobs. Students and faculty of the Professional Training Academy will bring new revenue and energy to the region. Theatres and schools typically increase the creative class and raise the tax base in communities where they are located. They spur economic growth and inspire the creation of new restaurants and shops for patrons to enjoy before and after shows. The Schorr Family Firehouse Stage is completing its fifth full season bringing over 10,000 patrons to the Village of Johnson City annually.
“We could not move forward into this exciting construction phase without the ongoing support of New York State, Senator Libous, Assemblywoman Lupardo and the Town of Union and Village of Johnson City who have helped support our ongoing operations, the initial stabilization of the Goodwill Theatre building and the creation of the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage which gives the public a glimpse of what the completed Complex will provide in the way of programming. The Hoyt Foundation lent support which helped fund the new roof on the Goodwill Theatre. In addition, the Klee Foundation and planning departments of Broome County, Town of Union and Johnson City have been invaluable resources. We will also complete the Professional Training Academy Master Plan and the Architect Master Plan for the entire Complex by December 2013. We are most grateful for the encouragement, wisdom and support we have received from everyone,” states Kradjian
“Our plan is to continue to move this project forward and keep the momentum going so that the construction fence stays up until an opening night not too far in the distant future,” adds Kradjian.
The Goodwill Theatre was built in 1920 by George F. Johnson as a proscenium style vaudeville stage for the enjoyment of EJ Factory workers, Village residents and their families. The Goodwill Theatre is designed by renowned architect Sanford O. Lacey who also designed the Stone Opera House in 1891, the Binghamton Public Library in 1903, West Presbyterian Church and Trinity Episcopal Church and the Davidge (now called Decker) Mansion among others.
If you are interested in volunteering your time to the project, or for additional information about the project, contact Goodwill Theatre Inc. at 607-772-2404, ext 301 or visit www.goodwilltheatre.net.