West Chester armory officially in the hands of Uptown!

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Members of Uptown! Entertainment Alliance at the closing. From left: Jeannie McGinn, Holly Brown, Jimmy Jefferis, Roy Smith, Betsy Neidziejko, Richard May, Helen Mountain, Tom McEvoy, Marilyn Parsons and Brian Nagle. (Uptown! Entertainment Alliance)

Members of Uptown! Entertainment Alliance at the closing. From left: Jeannie McGinn, Holly Brown, Jimmy Jefferis, Roy Smith, Betsy Neidziejko, Richard May, Helen Mountain, Tom McEvoy, Marilyn Parsons and Brian Nagle. (Uptown! Entertainment Alliance)

WEST CHESTER — Uptown! Entertainment Alliance, or UEA, has moved a step closer to its goal of bringing a performance theater to West Chester.

UAE representatives said they are finally able to purchase the old National Guard Armory building on North High Street.

“It’s a big, big step – it really is,” said Angela Scully, development director for UEA. “It’s exciting purchasing the building.”

Richard May, treasurer for UEA, will carry out the transfer of ownership of the historic building from the state of Pennsylvania to UEA, a huge step that has been in the making for five years.

“The West Chester community is richer today with the purchase of the armory and the planned conversion to a performing arts venue,” May said in a press release.

…[Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

UEA has been successful in fundraising a little over half of its goal of $3.75 million, which was planned for the purchase and the work inside, including re-purposing and preserving the brick structure.

“We still remain committed to our fundraising,” Scully said. “It’s just a question of making the goal of $3.75 (million) and we remain hopeful (and) we’re trying to do some end-of-the-year fundraising. For me, I always tell people the theater has yet to be named.”

Along with the fundraising, UEA is looking into getting a grant as well, thanks to the help of the borough itself.

“We are also up for an Anchor Block grant, which the borough has applied for on our behalf,” Scully said. “We are thrilled to have partnered with them on this. Hopefully we’ll get it. It’s $500,000, so that would be awesome.”

As of the moment, UEA has enough money to start the process inside and in the meantime, the nonprofit organization is taking bids from construction companies.

“We do have funds to start the process and so what we’re doing now is, since we’re in the design phase, we’re putting things out to bid and hiring the contractors and we will start probably in March,” Scully said.

Scully said the process of purchasing the armory was relatively easy.

“I would say it was not difficult,” she said. “Once they located the armory for us as a site – (state) Sen. (Andy) Dinniman and (state Rep.) Dan Truitt were super helpful with that – it was just a question of raising the money to do it.”

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Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Community

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