Down to the wire for Friends of the Paramount

Friends of the Chilliwack Paramount Theatre say they need community support now more than ever.

Friends of the Chilliwack Paramount Theatre say they need community support now more than ever.

With less than a week until the June 20 deadline in the city’s request for proposals process, the Paramount group is trying to save the historic theatre building from the wrecking ball with a plan to open a repertory theatre to view classic and non-mainstream films.

City council granted a 90 day-extension to the group back in March, launching a new RFP in which they could submit a business plan and re-development proposal. Up until then city officials had been looking into demolition options for the dilapidated building, making it clear no city funds would be forthcoming to save it.

Landmark Cinemas donated the building to the city when it closed in November 2010, and CEPCO offered to demolish it. Building repair costs are now estimated in the $250,000 to $300,000 range, and the group’s plan is based on securing wide-ranging financial support from the Chilliwack community.

After weeks of strategic planning, and fundraising by the Friends of the Paramount, the deadline to submit their plan to revitalize the iconic Paramount building is now bearing down on them.

“This is a pivotal period for the revitalization of Chilliwack,” the group writes in a press release on Saturday. “If you were thinking of submitting a Save-A-Seat pledge, please do so now. Together, we have demonstrated that there is a will in our community to restore this historic building, and see it thrive once more as a cultural hub in the centre of our downtown.”

To avoid any perception of bias or advantage, the group was told it would not be permitted to present their application in person before council, but instead they have to submit it in document form, as required under the city’s RFP rules.

City staff will review the proposals, and refer the ones with merit to the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee, who in turn will make recommendations back to council.

Pledge forms can be dropped off at Cornerstone Framing 46085 First Ave V2P 1W2, (on the Corner of Nowell and First Avenue) or scanned and sent by e-mail to info@friendsofthechilliwackparamount.com, or faxed to 1-877-373-0635.

The group said members planned to attend the Sardis Park Eco-Market Wednesday night to answer questions about the proposal, offer pledge forms and the seating chart for the Save-A-Seat campaign.

The group is grateful for all the community support.

“Thank you all for contributing to the cause. Thank you for sharing your stories, ideas and skills. Thank you for connecting through Facebook, Twitter, and our website. Thank you for contributing to our plan, writing to Mayor and Council, displaying our posters, signing our petition, and attending Council meetings. Finally, thank you for pledging your financial support through the Save-A-Seat campaign.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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