Borough Council considers courting non-profits to rent former Crescent Theatre building

SUSSEX BOROUGH. While the building needs roof repairs, the Council believes working with a non-profit will open up grant opportunities.

| 26 Jun 2022 | 04:18

The Sussex Borough Council on June 21 instructed the borough attorney to draw up a template with an eye toward leasing the Crescent Theatre, at 74 Main Street, Sussex, to a theater group.

The council had been contemplating selling the building, but expressed a desire to keep it operating as a theater. However, Councilman Charles Fronheiser said it may take the borough years to sell the building and, in the meantime, he said he wants to get someone in there.

“I’d rather have somebody in the building and then in the lease, you can put in there that it’s contingent on selling. If we decide to sell it, there’s got to be a timeframe you can give somebody in the lease to get them out.”

The council expects to include a deed restriction on a possible sale of the building to have it remain a theater.

“So, somebody buys it, they’d want an occupant,” Fronheiser said. “If I was buying it, I’d want a tenant, The thing is, we need to start a lease to move forward.”

Council President Robert Holowach said the borough doesn’t have a specific tenant in mind, and the borough is still looking for estimates on a roof repair.

Councilman Mario Poggi said the roof needs to be fixed, noting that there are grants available for theaters, but most of them are only considered when a municipality works with a non-profit group.

“We won’t be able to get grants on our own, but we may be able to share grants with a non-profit. But by sitting here and doing nothing, nothing’s happening. We know there’s an interest with some groups that would like to get in there and have a theater to do their performances, and we definitely want it to be deed restricted because we don’t want it to fall into foul hands.”

Borough attorney Frank McGovern said he was going to draw up a template for the council to look at.

“I may throw the entire kitchen sink into it,” he said. “And then you could say take that out and put this in.”