SAVE THE ELKS!

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Donate to SAVE THE ELKS! securely with PayPal

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Listen to an overview of SAVE THE ELKS, created and aired by WITF.

Over the next year, the Greater Middletown Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) is embarking on a vital mission to SAVE THE ELKS! from closure due to radical changes in movie technology. After celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2011, The Elks Theatre is only one of thousands of small, independently operated movie theaters nationwide threatened by the discontinuation of 35 mm exhibition and is in dire need of digital projection. Through a variety of fundraising means, STE! aims to raise just under $200k to purchase the theater the vital projection system and also a new, historically appropriate marquee.

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The progress so far:

In just the last seven years, the GMEDC has saved a historic landmark and improved the Elks building so that it may continue to serve downtown Middletown as an important community keystone. The Elks Theatre has served numerous generations as a place for families to come together and enjoy a timeless tradition- and we intend to keep it that way for at least another 101 years. Additionally, the GMEDC has begun to expand the theater’s programming beyond just new releases and hopes to attract different kinds of performing arts as future improvements to the building are made.

Using the Anchor Building Grant/Loan provided by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, the GMEDC:

  • 2005: Purchased the Elks Building, including The Elks Theatre for $350,000.00
  • 2009: Hired architect to draft long-term renovation plans for Elks Building- $16,543.37
  • 2009: Replaced the roof of the Elks Theatre- $96,530.47

From other funding sources:

  • 2005: Purchased a used 35mm movie projector- $25,000.00
  • 2005: Upgraded electrical components/undertook a Code Compliance Project- $23,000.00
  • 2008: Repaired west wall of Elks Building using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)- $57,000.00

Since the GMEDC’s purchase of the theater in 2005, it has expanded its programming from strictly second run to almost exclusively first run films with little increase in ticket prices- at a cost that multiplexes could never compete with. Additionally, regular showings of the cult favorite, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, have been incorporated.

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And then…

With news of the digital conversion on the horizon, Middletown resident Max Einhorn and his regular collaborator Dan Santelli, approached the GMEDC in August 2012 about integrating a plan a to jumpstart patronage to the theatre, raise money for digital projection and a new marquee, and actively develop long-term goals that could be pursued following the upgrades. And thus, SAVE THE ELKS! was born.

In just the first few months of fundraising, Einhorn and Santelli realized the potential for the Elks to offer its patrons something unique to the area: bringing their favorite classic films back to the big screen.  The Elks Theatre is quickly on track to becoming the Premiere Repertory Cinema in Central Pennsylvania. Beginning in January 2013, STE! will also be launching a membership program for the theater that will provide special privileges and incentives in exchange for an annual donation.

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With the current fundraising plans, the GMEDC hopes to upgrade The Elks to a digital projection system by summer 2013. However, it cannot be done without community support. In addition to attending our repertory screenings and other upcoming fundraising events, please consider making a donation the SAVE THE ELKS Campaign:

Donate to SAVE THE ELKS! securely with PayPal 

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OR

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