February 21

Augusta’s Colonial Theater inspires visions of vibrant future

A discussion session Thursday night elicits dozens of suggestions for what a developer could do with the unoccupied building which backs onto the Kennebec River.

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Staff file photoWhen it was a cinema: This 1940 photo shows the Colonial Theater on Water Street in downtown Augusta.

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An offer to run a ferry boat to the back of the building brought smiles from many of the 45 people in the audience and prompted a suggestion to connect the theater to the river and perhaps host environmental programs.

Lori Larochelle, of Augusta, kept reminding people, “All these things need to raise money to support the building.” She also said there were a number of buildings downtown that could be used to take the overflow events.

Along with suggestions to make seating flexible and mobile came ideas about beginning to market it and to do a photo and video documentary of the process of rehabilitating the structure.

Parkhurst said the intent is to restore the exterior and completely renovate the interior. He said his former firm, Oakes & Parkhurst Glass, now operated by his children, committed to donating windows and doors.

Chris Selwood, who lives across the street from the theater, suggested doing exterior work as soon as possible.

“Right now it sits there, and nobody sees anything going on,” Selwood said. “More people will get interested because they see something’s actually being done.”

Kathi Wall, who at one point ran Capital Kids’ The Edge, a popular teen center on Water Street, suggested building a stage atop a new marquee that could be used for mini- or teaser performances, similar to what she saw at some theaters in England.

“We need people to help us make this go,” Pecukonis said. “It is a very small board right now.” He said the Colonial Theater Inc.’s board of directors and officers’ terms expire Feb. 28 by design, and the group is hoping to attract new members.

He asked people to get involved and to email him with suggestions at steve@augustadowntownalliance.org. He also said he would organize the ideas offered Thursday and post them on that organization’s website in about two weeks.

Betty Adams — 621-5631 badams@centralmaine.com Twitter: @betadams

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