The Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, whose purchased for $1.1 million was approved by Chester residents in November 2018, is in the hole for $33,129.09 as of Dec. 31, 2020, according to a review of town budget figures with regard to the facility.
The Chronicle filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) with the Town of Chester, requesting budgetary and monetary information regarding expenses, salaries, income and other financials about the performing art center.
The documents The Chronicle received for theater operations in 2020 showed the that the performing arts center was $33,129.09 in the red.
This excludes the bond payment of $56,818.06 principal paid and $73,630.83 interest paid. This is for the borrowing for the PAC and Senior Center, combined, as this is how the purchase/borrowing was set up.
The facility consists of a 688-seat main stage theater, the 240-seat Pavilion and the 2,000-seat outdoor Wharf Theater.
Voters approved $1.1 million dollar bond referendum in November 2018 and the town closed on the property in March 2019.
During a town meeting near the end of 2019, Supervisor Robert Valentine said a report on the SLPAC would be made at the end of 2020.
No report on the financial status of the theater was made at the end of 2020.
Councilman Bob Courtney said in recent meetings that the town voted to own SLPAC and “we have to do something” to try to make the theater a viable entity.
The impact of the coronavirus
Prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the theater offered two for the price of one ticket for actual performances to stimulate attendance and interest in productions.
Courtney said that COVID made it impossible from March going forward to operate normally.
A recent attempt at a program involving six other theaters resulted in a nice outcome, Courtney said.
When asked what the profit was from the program during a recent meeting, Valentine said he did not know. Neither did Courtney.
Courtney said he has plans for the success of the theater after the pandemic has passed and will discuss those plans following the pandemic.
He said he didn’t want to comment further at this time about what the plans involved.