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Village board offering support to Massena theater group effort

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MASSENA - When the Massena Arts & Theatre Association (MATA) applies to the River Valley Redevelopment Association (RVRDA) for a grant to help restore downtown’s historic Schine Theater, it will be doing so with the support of the village board.

MATA President R. Shawn Gray made the request Tuesday night during the citizen’s comments portion of the meeting.

After asking for a letter of support to include in the not yet completed grant application, Mr. Gray said, “If the board could do that, it would be very much appreciated.”

After receiving consensus from his fellow board members, Mayor James F. Hidy said that is something he could do.

“I would be more than happy to do that,” he said.

The group has purchased the theater from Massena businessman Thomas Gramuglia is hoping to reopen the theater, not just as a theater but as a second community center of sorts that will host movies and concerts, as well as community meetings and other events.

The group had hoped to have its marquee reinstalled and lit up during this year’s winter carnival, but those plans were unable to come to fruition.

According to previously published reports, the building is structurally sound, needing only cosmetic and infrastructure repairs.

Mr. Hidy has spoken in support of the theater’s restoration in the past even helping to lead a 2011 effort to get the marquee reinstalled.

“It could add a little bit more luster to our downtown,” Mr. Hidy said at that time. “It would make a nice touch to bring some color back to our downtown.”

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