Federal funds to help with major makeover of Paramount Theatre

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Thousands of dollars in federal funding is set to make its way to Rutland City as part of a project to revitalize a downtown staple. Some $500,000 in federal funding has been allocated to the Paramount Theatre in Rutland.

The theater is embarking on a multimillion-dollar plan to renovate surrounding space to provide more opportunities and a more inclusive environment for members of the community.

“You know how important community is and downtown,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.

Since opening its doors in the early 1900s, the Paramount Theatre has been a cornerstone in downtown Rutland, hosting a wide variety of shows, concerts and activities.

“Sixty-five thousand people walked through those doors in 2019-- 65,000. Together they represent an economic impact on the region of $2 million,” said Eric Mallette, the executive director of the Paramount Theatre.

Now, the Paramount Theatre is looking to expand. Through a more than $5 million project, the theater is looking to renovate the building directly next door, formerly known as the Richardson Building.

“The new beautiful 360-view, fourth-floor venue will allow us to greatly increase our own programming as well as be a community resource available for rent for conferences and other community events,” said Mark Foley of the Paramount Theatre.

Other changes include more restrooms and concession areas, a new box office and a new HVAC system.

Rutland City Mayor David Allaire says the changes are a positive step forward for Rutland area residents.

“I can just imagine how much joy it brings children, middle-aged people, people from all walks of life that are able to come and enjoy the Paramount Theatre. It really is a destination for the city of Rutland. It’s a destination for our future,” Allaire said.

“The numbers are one thing and they are important. What’s far more important in my mind is the community. The men and women of the community that will come together,” Leahy said.

The theater will roll out a public donation option within the next few weeks to help offset other costs of the project.

Staff at the theater say construction is set to begin at the end of the year with a completion date sometime in 2024.

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