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Kutztown Community Partnership is a community-driven non-profit organization dedicated to the economic revitalization and preservation of Kutztown. The Partnership serves as a liaison to build community, to forge positive relationships, and to foster cultural and economic collaboration in this historic college town. Kutztown Community Partnership envisions Kutztown as an inclusive community that welcomes all our best efforts: to get an education, to do business, and to live well at every stage of our lives.

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As of February 2023, Kutztown Community Partnership is the 4th official owner of the Strand Theater. Since 1912, the Strand Theater has stood as a pillar of our community.  Kutztown Community Partnership is proud to have been granted $270,013 from the County of Berks to purchase the historic Strand Theatre.  KCP would specifically like to thank County Commissioners, Christian Leinbach, Kevin Barnhardt and Michael Rivera for their support for this project. KCP also received $450,000 from The Local Shares Account- Statewide Program through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Financing Authority to reopen this cornerstone of Kutztown.  Special thanks to Senator Judith Schwank for her support and dedication to the Kutztown community.

KCP will be documenting the journey of the Strand as it is prepared and renovated for reopening. Click here to explore our webpage on the Strand Theater. Discover local history you never knew, hear untold stories of the Strand's storied past, and read regularly posted blog updates to be in the know of everything coming to the Strand as KCP embarks upon this new community endeavor.   

The Strand Theatre Q&A

Q. When will the Strand reopen?

A. We are working hard to get the Strand operational again by Fall 2024. We will provide updates as we get closer to that time.

 

Q. What needs to happen to make the Strand operational again?

A. There are many structural upgrades that the building needs, including a new roof, HVAC, and electrical. The building is extremely outdated mechanically and structurally. While these upgrades will be mostly invisible, they are essential for the building to be opened safely on a regular basis. Also, buildings have to be brought up to ADA Code when any improvements are being made to a building and permits are pulled. The bathrooms and other areas of the theatre are NOT ADA compliant.

 

Q. What exactly is unsafe about the building?

A. Prior to KCP (Kutztown Community Partnership) purchasing the building, some serious safety issues were brought to our attention by the Kutztown Fire Department. The garage's main beam is cracked, and the stairs to the apartment above the theater are deemed unsafe. The basement had an "emergency generator" which was car batteries wired together. There is no fire safety sprinkler system in the building. We were told if the building caught fire, emergency services were directed to not enter because it was unsafe. The restrooms are in very bad shape and also need updating.

 

Q. What about cosmetic upgrades?

A. Cosmetic upgrades such as seat refurbishment will take time and additional funding. We have plans to eventually make both theater spaces a more comfortable experience with new seats, but this will not happen right away.

 

Q. Will the charm of the Strand be preserved?

A. The Strand has been a source of pride in our community for over 100 years. While there will be structural and cosmetic upgrades, it will never be our intention to turn the building into something that removes its legacy as Kutztown’s historic movie theater. Our intention is to make sure the theater thrives for generations to come, while preserving the charm of the small-town theater that it is.

 

Q. Is there really going to be a bar in the theater?

A. You may have seen some architectural renderings and blueprints of the Strand, and we hear and understand your concerns. These renderings and blueprints are not in any way final. The architect created these fancy mockups to show the range of options and start a conversation, and clearly they kicked off a conversation! They are much fancier than we are envisioning. While certain events may include alcohol, we're planning on running a movie theater, not a bar. Like many other movie theaters in the area, we are considering offering this service to our guests of legal age. Once the safety concerns have been addressed, we will continue to work with the architect on designs for preserving the historical integrity of the Strand. Rest assured, KCP couldn't even afford what's in the current mockups.

 

Q. What about a stage?

A. We plan to have a small stage below the existing movie screen that can be used for live events and theater rentals. This will not disturb the movie-going experience. We have not finalized plans for this yet.

 

Q. Will you show first-run movies?

A. We would love to bring first run movies back to the Strand and while we are working toward that goal, there are some real challenges that we need to work through. The previous owner of the Strand, Paul Angstadt, had grandfathered-in negotiations with the studios. Unfortunately, we were not able to keep those negotiations in place due to the transfer of ownership, but we will make every effort to set up new, reasonable, negotiations with the film studios. When we have more details we will share them, but for now we can assure you that showing movies is our primary focus!

 

Q. What other types of films do you intend to show?

A. In addition to potentially showing first-run films, we intend to show independent, classic, and repertory films from a wide variety of film distributors. We also plan to have themed events, such as a run of classic horror films during the whole month of October, for example. We will also have a suggestion box in the theater and an online suggestion form for movies you’d like to see played at the Strand.

 

Q. Will there be other programming besides movies?

A. Yes. We intend to have the occasional live event, such as concerts by local musicians, as an example. We do emphasize that these events will be OCCASIONAL, and are meant to boost our revenue and create an alternative source of entertainment in Kutztown. We hope to renovate the basement to be an event space that will not restrict the use of the main floor and second floor screening rooms for movies. We also want to emphasize that if we have an event in the larger theater, it is our intention to still show a film in the smaller, second-floor theater during the event.

 

Q. Will the tickets still be $5?

A. We have not yet determined what the movie ticket prices will be. The Strand ran at a deficit for many years before being purchased by KCP. Our ticket pricing will certainly be lower than the large multiplexes, but we must also be realistic and financially sustainable.

 

Q. What kind of concessions will be available?

A. You will have the option to purchase the typical movie theater concessions: popcorn, candy, and soda. We plan to keep the concession prices as reasonable as possible.

 

Q. How is the money for the Strand project being managed?

A. KCP is raising money through private donations as well as grants for this project. Private donations for this project are managed by KCP following our standard financial practices: Our books are kept and managed through a third party bookkeeping company to ensure transparency and accountability on every dollar that is managed. Internally, any expenditure of funds has to be approved by the board. All board members are volunteers and do not take any payment from KCP. To date, the grants that we have received have been facilitated through the Greater Berks Development Fund, and they are actually holding the funds until they will eventually be released directly to the contractors. Our goal is to manage the costs for this project as much as possible and ensure that every dollar possible goes directly to the renovation and reopening of the Strand.

 

Q. Can I attend a KCP meeting?

A. The KCP Board meets at the KCP Office at 306 West Main St on the first Thursday of every month at 8am. The first portion of the meeting is open to the public to provide feedback and collaborate on the best approach forward for any of our projects, including the Strand. We do kindly ask that you let us know in advance of your attendance so that we can ensure you have ample time to make your voice heard. The remainder of the meetings are closed to the public due to the discussion of sensitive information. If you can’t make a meeting, we encourage you to contact us using the email address below and we will reply as soon as possible.


Q. What if I have more questions?
A. We are happy to speak with you! Please email kutztownpartership@gmail.com
with your question(s) and we will reply as soon as possible.

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