06.30.15

SCHUMER URGES FEDS TO APPROVE MAJOR FUNDING TO RESTORE & REVITALIZE HISTORIC ULSTER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – THEATER IS PILLAR IN LOCAL COMMUNITY & TOURISM INDUSTRY; RENOVATING WOULD HELP IMPROVE CENTER’S FACILITIES & BRING NEW BUSINESSES TO AREA

Federal Economic Development Funding Would Enable Ulster Performing Arts Center To Make Major Renovations To Facilities, Including Adding Public Safety Upgrades & Public Restrooms, Improving Building Energy Efficiency, And Installing A New AC System So Theater Can Stay Open During Summer Months 

Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Inc. Has Applied For $3 Million In Fed Funds For UPAC Restoration – Schumer Says Economic Benefits Could Mean Major Boost For County & Could Bring New Businesses & Visitors To Area 

Schumer: Time to Let UPAC Play Leading Role in Kingston Revitalization

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to approve major federal funding that would allow Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Inc. to restore and renovate the historic Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC). Schumer said this renovation would allow for the installation of a new AC system that would enable the theater to remain open through the summer months, in addition to doubling the number of public restroom facilities, increasing the building’s overall energy efficiency, and completing other public safety upgrades. Schumer said Bardavon applied for $3,085,750 in federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) funding through the Department of Commerce to complete this renovation project, which would allow UPAC to continue playing a leading role in the revitalization of historic Kingston.

“Adding some much-needed upgrades to the Ulster Performing Arts Center would ensure it remains a staple of downtown Kingston and a pillar in the local community. Completing these renovations would allow the theater to remain open year-round and provide great entertainment to residents and tourists from all over the state and nation,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I'm asking the Commerce Department to approve major EDA funding to make these proposed changes a reality. Kingston is undergoing a major revitalization that will bring new businesses to the area and be a huge boon to the Hudson Valley economy – the Ulster Performing Arts Center has the potential to be a main contributor to that effort.”

Schumer was joined by Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, as well as staff and board members from Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Inc.

“Our presentations at the Ulster Performing Arts Center draw tens of thousands of visitors to Midtown Kingston every year,” says Bardavon Executive Director Chris Silva. “And an EDA grant to complete the theater’s restoration will help us grow our audiences even further—with new HVAC and public facilities, we’ll expand our Season by nearly three months, drawing more patrons to the region and its many restaurants, hotels, and other small businesses.”

Schumer said UPAC has long played a major role in Ulster County’s hospitality and tourism industry, and this restoration project would allow it to make critical renovations to both improve its own facilities and make it a main contributor to Kingston’s midtown revitalization. Schumer said renovating the theater and making necessary improvements would draw more tourists to the area, which would help support hundreds of local businesses. Schumer said ensuring UPAC remains a pillar of the community and a source of creative and artistic innovation is a top priority and urged Secretary Pritzker to approve this $3 million EDA funding.

Schumer encouraged Secretary Pritzker to approve the EDA funds for the theater’s renovation project, arguing it met the specific Distress Criteria needed for an EDA project investment. Kingston, the home of UPAC, is listed as a high-distress town, which has prompted local officials to launch a major effort to revitalize the historic town.

Since 1927, UPAC has enriched Ulster County and the entire Hudson Valley region. Operated by the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Inc. and located in the heart of historic Kingston, the 1500-seat theater has hosted plays, comedians, speakers, and musical performances. Restoring the theater would play a central role in the broader effort to revitalize the downtown Kingston area. In addition, the project would result in significant economic benefits to Kingston, Ulster County, and the greater Hudson Valley region by encouraging new businesses to come to the area and impact local job growth.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to the Dept. of Commerce appears below:

Dear Secretary Pritzker,

I am pleased to write in support of the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Inc.’s application for Ulster County through EDA’s Economic Development Assistance program. Such funding will enable Bardavon to support the final phases of its comprehensive restoration and renovation plan for the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, NY.

Located in historic Kingston, the Ulster Performing Arts Center enriches the community culturally, historically, and economically. The theater is a National Register property and was built in 1927. With 1500 seats, it is a major part of Ulster County’s hospitality and tourism industries, and serves as a main contributor to Kingston’s midtown revitalization. The Ulster Performing Arts Center is a pillar of the community and a substantial source of local pride. 

With funding, the Ulster Performing Arts Center upgrades will benefit not only the arts center, but contribute to local revitalization and encourage new business opportunities. Funding will supplement local investment and help support the Ulster Performing Arts Center Interior/Exterior Renovation and Construction Project, Final Phases 3 & 4. These projects include: a new HVAC system to enable the theater to remain open through the summer months; doubling the public restroom facilities; public safety upgrades; and increasing the building’s energy efficiency. I applaud Bardavon 1869 Opera House, Inc. for its foresight and sincerely hope its application for funding meets with your approval.

Thank you for your consideration. 

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

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