INDIAN LAKE: The downtown movie house is gone from most small towns across the country. But in Indian Lake, NY, (population 1,400) the historic theater begins a new life as the result of community spirit.
On March 6, a local volunteer organization launched in December, 2007 completed its purchase of Indian Lake's 250-seat Main Street theater.
Ben Strader, President of Indian Lake Theater, Inc., said, "The local support for this project has been amazing. More than 400 people helped us raise $160,000 in just twelve weeks. This really shows us that we are on the right track, and the people of our towns believe in honoring the history and supporting the future of Indian Lake."
The 1938 structure has shown films for seven decades, a favorite rainy-day activity for visitors and popular gathering place for teens. Community theater groups have packed the house for amateur productions of Hello, Dolly!, The Wizard of Oz, Jesus Christ Superstar and other ambitious musicals.
The vision of the nonprofit group, according to Strader, is to provide stage and screen possibilities year-round.
Now that the building is secure, the search for operating funds begins. Support from foundations, corporations, local businesses and state agencies will be critical, said Strader, with board members from Indian Lake, Long Lake and Blue Mountain Lake encouraging their neighbors to get involved.
"We're a grassroots group," said Strader. "We have plans that will make the facility accessible to all, because we realize our biggest fans are right here, in our own backyard. We all realized how much we missed the theater after it closed in late 2006. Now we can't wait to bring Movies and More back to Main Street."
The group hopes to reopen the theater with a Grand Opening Memorial Day Weekend, with a steady program of "Movies and More" through Columbus Day, and special events throughout the winter season.