City Council agrees to lower list price for Pittsfield Community Theater


PITTSFIELD – City councilors agreed this week to lower the listing price for the Pittsfield Community Theater to $ 149,900 in an effort to attract a buyer for the property.

The theater’s original selling price was $ 179,000. While several parties visited the theater and seemed interested, none of them made an offer after learning of the repairs they would need. City manager Kathryn Ruth said the new price was recommended by realtors who work with the city.

“They found this award by looking at other installations similar to ours and other sales that have taken place,” Ruth said at Wednesday’s board meeting.

The Pittsfield Community Theater opened in 1915 as Leger’s Theater and has shown silent films. In 1929, it became Bijou Theater and had a sound system installed. It then changed owners several times, until the city bought it in 1977 for $ 24,000.

The theater closed permanently last fall and council voted to sell the downtown property. It had been losing money for several years, although in early 2020 there were plans to turn it into a non-profit organization so that it could operate independently of the city. But those plans were disrupted by the pandemic, and the theater had to close in March last year due to meeting restrictions.

The board also heard from Police Chief Harold “Pete” Bickmore talk about the staffing of the department. While the police department now only has one vacant position for a full-time officer, it is still struggling as one of the other officers is in the academy and another has not attended the academy. academy and cannot work alone during a shift.

Bickmore recently hired a Portland Police Force officer who was able to come in and start working independently. He said he was looking for another experienced officer to fill the final post, but had no candidacy. Bickmore said the board needs to approve new incentives for the department to be fully staffed.

“I hate to say we need more, but we need more,” Bickmore said.

In July, the board approved a $ 15,000 signing bonus for new officers, created a sick leave bank, and extended the residency requirement for officers to 50 miles from the police station. In September, the board also approved a salary increase for all officers and additional vacation time.

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