CNY lawmakers advocate for $20 million for upstate Alive Downtowns coalition
Central New York lawmakers met at Syracuse's Landmark Theatre recently to advocate for funding in the state budget to go toward the Upstate Historic Theatres.
The Alive Downtowns initiative is seeking $20 million to be divided between 13 Historic Upstate Theatres. Mike Intaglietta, executive director of the Landmark Theatre, said roughly 123,000 audience members attended an event at the theatre in 2022.
"Between our own direct expenditures and the local investment from our presenting partners, we estimate a combined economic impact of around $10 million," Intaglietta said. "Results like that don't just happen. They require investment."
Upstate theatres like the Landmark are facing similar challenges: theaters remain understaffed and while audiences are back, attendance has not returned to pre-pandemic rates. Intaglietta said steady funding could help.
"It would help us to thrive," Intaglietta said. "To better maintain and improve these spaces, to better market our shows, to raise capital for the large scale improvements which are always happening with theaters our age and most importantly, to expand our ability to attract more shows here into the heart of downtown."
Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli spoke about previous improvements to the Landmark saying it's been a pleasure to be able to do anything for the theater and all that goes on in it.
"It is well worth it to the communities across this state that are trying to not only save these beautiful places and theaters, but also bring theatre to the people, bring the arts to people," Magnarelli said. "It is the heart and soul. It's the spirit of the community. So, anything that we can do, I will continue to do."
"This is important to us," Assemblyman Al Stirpe said. "I know it's really important to the community. We're going to do our best and hopefully will bring something home."
State Senator John Mannion has helped lead an effort encouraging every upstate state senator to sign a letter of support for the Alive Downtowns initiative.
"As great of an experience and as many necessary enhancements that have come to this place, people still are concerned and they're not coming back to the extent that they were," Mannion said. "That is why that an embedded, steady stream of funding is so important. We cannot allow irreplaceable places to be replaced."
The state budget is due April 1.