The Colonial and the future
Thursday, April 29, 2010
For close to 30 years, many in the Laconia area have dreamed of an opportunity to revitalize the Colonial Theater as a way of enhancing the area’s quality of life as well as providing a much-needed magnet to the city’s downtown.
As, one by one, so many of the retail establishments in the downtown area either moved to the outskirts or closed altogether, the call to resurrect the Colonial only increased. Dating back to the early 1980s there have been a number of efforts to restore what many consider one of the city’s most impressive landmarks, but for a variety of reasons all came to naught.
This week a breakthrough occurred when City Manager Eileen Cabanel announced that the city had reached a tentative agreement with the Colonial’s owners, the Baldis, for the possible purchase of the property. With $15,000 from an anonymous benefactor, the city obtained an 18-month option to purchase the Colonial complex for $1.4 million.
Now the people of the city — its residents, its businesses, its civic leaders, and its elected officials — have a chance to thoroughly consider whether restoring the Colonial makes sense, and if it does, knowing then the project could proceed.