ABOUT THE GMEDC
The Greater Middletown Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) was formed in October 2003 and formally kicked off its efforts of revitalization of Middletown, Pennsylvania in January 2004. The GMEDC is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the improvement and promotion of enterprise and community in the greater Middletown area, encompassing Highspire, Londonderry Township, Lower Swatara Township, Middletown and Royalton. With the help of our volunteers and with the support of our partners and members of our communities, may exciting things have happened over the last few years. But many challenges to our communities remain and we look forward to meeting them with enthusiasm.
The GMEDC has been successful in getting official designation of the downtown business district of the Borough of Middletown as a Main Street Program area and is applying for the Elm Street Program to continue the community development efforts into residential areas surrounding the downtown business district. These programs bring with it some funding from the state, but to be sustainable, it requires local dollars/commitment as well.
Presiding Board Members (as of October 2012)
Gordon Einhorn, Legal Counsel and Elks Theatre Committee Chair
Jack Raudenbush President
ELKS THEATRE INVOLVEMENT
The Greater Middletown Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) purchased the Elks Building and Theatre at 1 S. Union Street in Middletown Borough on August 23, 2005. The GMEDC is a local 501(c)3 corporation focused on the economic revitalization of the Greater Middletown Area. Please see enclosed description.
The Elks Building is one of the most historically significant buildings within the borough and is critical to the success of Middletown’s Main Street Program which is administered by GMEDC. The building is one of the largest structures in Middletown and has particular significance in that it houses the Elks Theatre, one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the United States. In addition to the 469 seat theater, which occupies approximately one half of the building, the structure contains two retail stores on the ground floor and a large second floor containing the lodge of the building’s current owner, Middletown Elks Lodge BPOE 1092.
The Elks lodge recently placed the building on the market and attracted immediate interest from several developers who intended to permanently close the historic theater and convert the theater space to some less desirable use. The purpose of this project is to preserve the historic theater through acquisition of the building, restoration and renovation of the structure and ultimately the establishment of a non-profit community based performing arts/cultural center dedicated to the exhibition of films and presentation of live performances. In addition, the first floor retail spaces will be retained and the entire second floor (currently the home of the Elks Lodge) will be extensively renovated for occupancy, possibly by a restaurant or catering business.
Greater Middletown Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC), which administers the borough’s Main Street Program, determined that the loss of the theater would do irreversible damage to the borough and the Main Street Program and resolved to purchase the building in order to ensure that the Elk’s Theatre would remain a theater in perpetuity. On June 8, 2005, GMEDC entered into a sales agreement for the purchase of the building in the amount of $350,000. The Anchor Building funds being applied for will be made available to GMEDC to carry out the purchase of the building and to begin the first phase of renovations.
To read more about the GMEDC’s investment into the Elks and its journey into the SAVE THE ELKS! Campaign, click here.