locally owned since 1854

When it comes to spending money, Elks Theatre is a want, not a need

Posted 11/22/16

Back in 1980s, I can remember going into the Elks Theatre as a teenager and sitting in the back row with my friends to watch movies and thinking, “This is great. We have our own theater in our town.”

In 2010, I can remember taking our son to …

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When it comes to spending money, Elks Theatre is a want, not a need

Posted

Back in 1980s, I can remember going into the Elks Theatre as a teenager and sitting in the back row with my friends to watch movies and thinking, “This is great. We have our own theater in our town.”

In 2010, I can remember taking our son to the Elks Theatre as a 4-year-old and he was so excited because it was his first movie.

In 2005, I started taking a true interest in the town I called home for the last 40 years. 

I have seen our town go from all store fronts filled to having very few open. I have also watched Middletown go from a town where people had respect to a town where people don’t even slow down at stop signs let alone stop long enough to say hello. 

Society has changed. We are now a society of fast-paced, immediate-responses-needed, no time to slow down. 

For the most part, families are now a double income family (not that they want to be but it has become a necessity) with both parents working during the day as the child/children are in daycare/school. Once the parents are off from work they are rushing home to get a quick dinner, do homework and drive the child/children to some sort of practice or event that they are involved in.

The weekend of a family like this for the most part does not include going to the movies. It is the cleaning of the house one day and the next day is catching up on family time. Unfortunately, movie theaters have become a thing of the past. 

With Netflix, on demand and Hulu, we all have the movies we want from the quiet and relaxation of our own home. 

I would love to see our little theater make it, but like I said in the past I do not want to see our residents suffer because of it. I voted “no” Tuesday evening, Nov. 15, on accepting the $500,000 grant, and again on Monday. Here is my reason.

If you listen to the video of the meeting, you will hear all of the uncertainties of this grant and what we can or cannot do with it, how we can or cannot pay it back, what paperwork is needed, how much it would cost us if we decided not to proceed, where are we getting the money from and will we need to increase taxes or the electric rate. 

When I ran for council last year, I stated that I would do what I felt was best for our town. 

The vote was hard for me. While some wanted the theater because of its history, I know there are more residents in our town that could not afford to pay higher taxes or higher electric rates. I am watching the Facebook posts and I see that people are saying that there may be ways that we could fund it without these raises, but again that is another uncertainty. I can tell you the facts and what I have learned in the past two months:

1. The library which the borough owns needs a new roof.

2. The library needs a new A/C unit.

3. The borough hall needs a new A/C unit.

4. The police station needs more work to make it functional.

5. We need more Public Works employees. 

6. We need more police officers.

7. The public pool will need repairs before opening next spring.

8. The Middletown Fire Department will need two new trucks. 

9. Ann Street needs to be paved.

10. Our health insurance almost doubled.

11. We need new plow trucks/dump trucks.

And the list goes on and on with the needs of our town. While I hear a lot of people saying they want the theater open, I am also seeing and hearing what our town needs. 

I may have lost a lot of supporters or friends based upon my decision to vote no for this, but like I said last Tuesday night, I have to keep the well-being of 9,000 residents of our town as my first and foremost reason for this vote. 

As for people going onto my private Facebook page and demanding an explanation, I will not engage in demands on my private page. I stated my reasons last night at the meeting and that meeting can be viewed on Facebook. 

You can call me the skeptic’s leader, you can call me the vocal one of the group, and that is fine with me, but at least you know that I am asking questions and trying to figure out what is best and not just going with the flow of things.

I told the residents that I would be there for the majority of our town, not just vote the way the majority of council is going, and I believe I have proved that to you all.

Dawn Knull is a member of the Middletown Borough Council.