WEST CHESTER (April 5) – State Senator Andy Dinniman and Uptown! Entertainment Alliance (UEA) President Linda Foster today announced plans for the alliance to acquire the historic Pennsylvania National Guard Armory located at 226 N. High St. in West Chester for a theater.

“The arts have been a pivotal part of West Chester’s redevelopment, and now thanks to the work of the Uptown! Entertainment Alliance and so many others the arts will have a permanent home right here in downtown West Chester,” Dinniman said.

Foster announced that the organization, a non-profit volunteer group of local residents dedicated to creating a permanent theater in West Chester Borough for film and live performance, has the necessary funding and resources to acquire the Armory. She also noted her organization will be kicking off a capital campaign for the extensive project of turning the Armory into a theater.

Speaking of the work that has gone into this project, Foster said, “It isn’t just about bringing a theater to the community of West Chester, it is about bringing the community together and creating a sense of belonging.”

Senator Dinniman has been working extensively with the UAE to acquire the armory from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA). The Pennsylvania National Guard unit currently stationed at the armory, approximately 170 troops of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Battalion, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, is set to move into the new Coatesville Readiness Center in Sadsbury this fall.

The UAE reached an agreement with the DMVA to acquire the 10,900-square-foot building for $760,000, provided that it be maintained and preserved in accordance with historic standards. The building, which was built in 1916 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sits on 0.6 acres in West Chester’s historic district.

On Friday, Dinniman announced that he has introduced Senate Bill 827, legislation that will officially authorize the conveyance.

“I am fully confident that we will get this bill through the legislature and signed by the governor,” Dinniman said. “This all started with an idea and when I first became involved with this project more than two years ago I knew that it was a great idea. I must also recognize all the members, volunteers, supporters and patrons of the Uptown! Entertainment Alliance for all their hard work in getting the ball rolling on bringing a theater to the borough.”

The UAE is being supported in the purchase of the Armory by a low-interest loan from West Chester Library, Labor & Capital LLC (WC LLC) which was formed six years ago to help fund worthwhile public and private projects in West Chester.

Richard May, member manager of WC LLC said, “We are pleased to provide major funding for this acquisition and we look forward to its new use as a theater serving our community.”

UAE members also reminded residents of the organization’s second annual Red Carpet Gala set for the evening of Saturday, April 13 at the armory. For more information about the event or the UAE visit www.uptownwc.org.

For more information contact Senator Dinniman’s West Chester Office at (610) 692-2112, or e-mail acirucci@pasenate.com.

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