NORWESCAP interested in Sussex Borough theater

Sussex Borough. Sussex Borough Councilman Mario Poggi said that NORWESCAP is pursuing grants that would possibly enable them to purchase the former Cornerstone Theatre. The building needs repairs and is currently unusable.

| 25 Apr 2022 | 02:55

Sussex Borough may have an interested party for the old Cornerstone Theatre building.

Councilman Mario Poggi said at the April 19 borough council meeting that NORWESCAP has interest in purchasing the building that formerly held the Cornerstone Theatre, located at 74 Main St.

Poggi said the organization is pursuing a grant to purchase and renovate the building.

“They want to know if Cornerstone would come back to put on shows, but I told them Cornerstone’s out of business,” Poggi said. “They have no interest in coming back but I did tell her I do know of at least two theatre companies that we would recommend to fill that place.”

That doesn’t mean anything is certain nor would there be issues to work out beforehand.

The first question is whether NORWESCAP were to receive the grant. The other issue, which was brought up by Township Attorney Francis McGovern, is that the condition of the theater “is not very healthy at the moment.”

He said the theater has a lot of mold and conditions are probably unsafe.

Business Administrator Toni Smith said the borough’s construction official said the building was not habitable.

“He didn’t say that no one was allowed in it, but he said we could not do anything with it as is,” Smith said. “My permanent concern is that there is a lot of stuff that doesn’t belong to us, and I don’t think we’re responsible for that.”

Poggi said whatever is still in the building is equipment that nobody wants. Most of the props and furniture pieces were given away to a theater group. Any external chairs that were there were given away and all the electronics, spotlights were given away to another non-profit.

The only lights that remain in the theatre are the house lights.

“The good news is they want to keep it a theatre,” Poggi said. “And their main reason to speak to me was to see if it was the town’s intent to keep it a theatre. I told them, ‘yes’ because I know at least four of us want it to stay a theatre.”