Las Cruces Community Theatre needs help to save its home

Las Cruces Community Theatre needs help to save its home

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Las Cruces Community Theatre needs help to save its home

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One of the most beloved staples of Las Cruces is its vibrant and impressive community theater, which is housed in the old State Theatre at 313 N. Main on the Downtown Mall. But recently the owners of the building informed the theater board of directors of their intent to sell the property. The Las Cruces Community Theatre (LCCT) has called the location home for 40 years, leasing the space since 1976. In September, 2014 LCCT started a capital campaign to raise $1 Million to purchase and renovate the building, of which $26,000 has been raised so far. At this point the owners have put the property on the market, but LCCT hasn’t raised enough for the down payment yet.

“We still need at least $20,000 more to have enough for the down payment,” explained LCCT President Janet Beatty- Payne. “Once we get the down payment raised, then we need to continue to fundraise to pay off the mortgage and do much needed and required renovations to the bathrooms and electrical. “Recently other investors, including a local church group, have been looking at the building with the intent to purchase the property. If someone else buys the space, then the community theatre will lose its home downtown, which is a heart breaking thought. LCCT has been a huge part of the strong theatre presence in Las Cruces for 54 years. I can’t even fathom Las Cruces without LCCT.”

Not only has the Las Cruces Community Theatre been an important part of the downtown scene, but it is also a very important part of the downtown revitalization plan, Beatty-Payne said. An institution such as the Las Cruces Community Theatre has a true impact on the success or failure of revitalization efforts to a downtown district. It serves as an attraction, evening entertainment, and a catalytic multiplier bringing individuals to the area for one purpose, then allowing for additional spending from dining out and shopping. This particular establishment also has an impressive history of bringing quality arts to the area. Without a doubt, the loss of this institution without plans for relocation or incorporation into a new retail concept in its place would be detrimental to the decades of work the community of Las Cruces has put into building the arts and revitalizing Main Street.

Arianna Parsons, executive director of the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership explains, “An institution such as the Las Cruces Community Theatre has a true impact on the success or failure of revitalization efforts to a downtown district. It serves as an attraction, evening entertainment, and a catalytic multiplier – bringing individuals to the area for one purpose, then allowing for additional spending from dining out and shopping. This particular establishment also has an impressive history of bringing quality arts to the area. Without a doubt, the loss of this institution without plans for relocation or incorporation into a new retail concept in its place would be detrimental to the decades of work the community of Las Cruces has put into building the arts and revitalizing Main Street.”

LCCT brings significant numbers of people downtown with each theatrical production, especially during the holidays when it offers up popular family shows such as “White Christmas,” “Shrek the Musical” and an upcoming production of the timeless classic “The Wizard of Oz” in December.

“If we lose our current home, then the community will suffer for no longer having a community run theatre and the downtown revitalization efforts will certainly suffer, as there will no longer be that draw to get people downtown in the evenings. We all lose if we lose this space,” said Beatty-Payne. “We need the community’s support now to help us raise enough for the down payment, to buy the building outright and then to do the necessary renovations.”

If the Theatre can’t raise the money it needs to move forward with the purchase in the next month, then the building will be sold and the city of Las Cruces will have to say goodbye to its 54-year-old community theatre. Contributions can be made online by credit card at lcctnm.org or checks, made out to The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico with “LCCT Capital Campaign” written in the memo can be sent to The Las Cruces Community Theatre, PO Box 1281, Las Cruces, NM 88004.

For information on how you can help save the theatre or contribute to these efforts, email Beatty-Payne at president@lcctnm.org or leave a message at 523-1200.

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