GREENBELT – The Greenbelt Theatre is on the cusp of being reopened to the public once again. The city has agreed to terms on the contract being awarded to the Friends of the Greenbelt Theatre while renovations to the facility are scheduled to reach completion within the next month. City Manager Michael McLaughlin said he […]
GREENBELT – The Greenbelt Theatre is on the cusp of being reopened to the public once again.
The city has agreed to terms on the contract being awarded to the Friends of the Greenbelt Theatre while renovations to the facility are scheduled to reach completion within the next month.
City Manager Michael McLaughlin said he expects renovations to be completed by mid-March, with a tentative reopening date set for March 27. McLaughlin said last week’s snowstorm slowed the process down a bit but he still believes the deadline can be met.
“There are some things that still need to be taken care of, but that’s our tentative date,” McLaughlin said. “Things could still change but our goal is still mid to late March.”
McLaughlin said the exit doors have shown some issues but fixes are in place. The bathrooms have been retiled and made slightly bigger and more attractive. Digital projection equipment is being delivered to the theater next week, along with concession counters.
Meanwhile, the contract between the city and the Friends of the Greenbelt Theatre will be a three-year deal. The proposed contract treats the Friends of the Greenbelt Theatre as an independent contractor and begins on March 1.
“As structured, the contract provides that the Friends of the Greenbelt Theatre retains all revenue generated by use of the theater,” Mayor Emmett Jordan said. “They are responsible for all operating expenses, including payroll, film rental fees, concession supplies and maintenance.”
The Friends of the Greenbelt Theatre can maintain up to $200,000 of revenues over expenses and surplus funds to carry them through any down periods for the theater, Jordan said.
“This amount equates to about six months of operating expenses,” Jordan said.
Any surplus funds over $200,000 will be transferred into a capital reserve fund for capital improvement projects to the theater, including more renovations.
Jordan said the city will provide $100,000 split between the first two years of the contract. In the first year the city will provide $50,000 that can be used for operating expenses for the theater and in the second year the remaining $50,000 will be applied to the capital reserve fund for the theatre.
Jordan said the city will conduct an annual performance review of the theater and approve an annual budget submission. The Friends of the Greenbelt Theatre will also have to submit monthly reports to the city documenting their revenues and expenditures.
Councilwoman Leta Mach said she wants to make it clear in the contract that first and second run films do not need to be shown every night when there are film festivals or a particular film series being played in the theater.
“We understand and we are very much looking forward to showing the first and second run films,” Mach said. “We are also very much looking forward to having festivals and themed nights and film series.”
Mach said when the theater hosts film festivals or shows a film series, that does not mean they are violating the contract because they are not showing first or second run films as their contract requires.
“I just want to be very careful that we are not putting obstacles in the way of a very successful operation,” Mach said. “I want to be sure that we’re not hindering it in any way.”
Mayor Pro-Tem Judith Davis agreed with Mach. She said she does not want anyone looking back on the contract in a month saying they are in violation because a first or second run film did not play on a particular night.
“I don’t want anyone to look at this contract in a year from now and saying ‘Oh, on such and such day they did not show a first run movie.’ And that raises all sorts of ruckus,” Davis said. “We want to make it very clear.”
Dr. Caitlyn McGrath, president of the Friends of the Greenbelt Theatre group, said they are still working on renovating the theater’s website, but now that the contract is in place she should be able to finish up.
“We’re switching over from the website we had before to the new website,” McGrath said. “Some of these things, I’ve been doing as much as I can without the contract but now that I have the contract I can go forward with certain parts.”