$50K in federal funds set aside for Fishers Island theater project

The Fishers Island Theater is undergoing renovations. It's enough to make Hitchcock cry.
The Fishers Island Theater is set to be renovated using $50,000 in federal funding. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

With federal funding for community projects dwindling again this year, the Southold Town Board is setting aside most of the money it receives for renovations at the Fishers Island Theater, according to town documents. 

A breakdown of the $74,310 the town will earn through the Community Development Block Grant shows $50,000 of the money will go towards the renovation project on Fishers Island.

The historic theater was temporarily closed over the summer after it was labeled a “danger.” Southold Town workers made quick repairs to make the building safe again, but a full renovation is still needed, town employees said last month.

Supervisor Scott Russell said a full renovation would cost millions, but added the town would only spend enough to make it “safe and serviceable.”

“It’s a community asset that’s heavily used,” he said. The remainder of the renovation costs — which will likely total in the hundreds of thousands — will be paid for by the town using public works funds, he said.

Of the remaining Community Development Block Grant money, more than $11,000 will go to fund public services, more than $9,400 will be used for landscaping and irrigation at the Peconic Lane Community Center, and about $3,700 will pay for administration costs, according to the breakdown.

The document also shows that Community Action Southold Town and Maureen’s Haven will each receive $5,573 in funding.

Last year, the town received $79,915 through the grants, Mr. Russell said. The year before, the town had won $163,334 — more than double what the town was awarded this year.

Town special projects coordinator Phillip Beltz said the decrease in funding forced the town to “get creative” with how the money is dispersed next year.

The Town Board approved the resolution to assign the community grant funds at its meeting Tuesday night, with Councilman Bill Ruland abstaining, since his wife is poised to become the next executive director of CAST.

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With Grant Parpan