Ogdensburg, that is! A week that brought us tragic news for the film world in general also brought great news for local fans of both film and downtown commerce.
The Ogdensburg Growth Fund Development Corp. has agreed to loan $60,000 to the owner of the downtown movie theatre. That’s according to the Watertown Daily Times. The money will allow the theatre to reopen after closing down last summer.
The Ogdensburg Cinema is owned by Plattsburgh businessman Gilbert Jones, but it’s never consistently turned a profit. Jones has in the past looked for the city to take over its operation. In a WDT times article at that time, Jones said that he was “offering it as a gift to the city.” But the city wasn’t able to take over the theatre, essentially saying that’s not something they can legally do. Since buying the theatre in 1980, he’s invested heavily in it, installing a new roof, ventilation system and marquee, along with “other renovations.” But according to that article from last summer, it’s lost about $5,000 per year.
Better times ahead, perhaps: The paper reported yesterday that Ogdensburg’s lending agency unanimously voted to loan Jones the $60,000 interest-free (he’d originally asked for $100,000 and apparently did some negotiation with the Growth Fund…) Jones will use that money to buy digital projection equipment for the theatre, an investment he’ll have to make in order to keep showing films after this year. The Growth Fund also estimates that if it’s open, the cinema will create the equivalent of four full-time jobs.
As a fan of movies, I do want to take a moment also to acknowledge the very sad news for the movies (and the world), that the lovely and iconic film critic Roger Ebert died yesterday. Here’s a link to his obituary from his paper, the Chicago Sun-Times. Ebert was not only a brilliant communicator and a surprising human being, but he dealt with his cancer and its effects on his body in a way that can only be described as heroic. As they often say on internet forums, “.” (A moment of silence.)