Town Board contracts with consultant to find an operator or buyer for the Monroe Theater

Councilman McGinn: The theater can be 'an economic driver for the village. If the village does good, we all do good.'


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— The Monroe Town Board authorized an agreement to pick up on work to find an operator to lease or purchase the Monroe Theater during Monday’s regular board meeting.

By a 4-0 vote, with Councilwoman Mary Bingham abstaining, the board voted to approve a contract – pending town counsel review and approval - with Palmer Economic Development Inc. of Yonkers.

In March 2016, an agreement was in place with Palmer Economic Development, with some preliminary meetings taking place with possible interested groups, Councilman Mike McGinn said during the meeting.

But Ed Sheeran, its president, had some significant health issues and nothing more took place. Sheeran never billed the town for the work done at the time, McGinn said.

Six months, $2,500 per monthThe new contract is similar to the 2016 one: A six month contract for $2,500 monthly.

The movie theater, purchased at auction in 2012, became a cause of town residents’ anger from the purchase’s onset. The purchase also created years of havoc at town board meetings and eventually was a cause for the formation of the United Monroe group.

“I’ve dealt with Mr. Sheeran quite a bit,” McGinn said at the meeting. “He has been fantastic and worked very, very hard … (with) major movie companies, independents. We did a meeting down at the National Development Corp. Despite some considerable health issues, he was able to do all this. We (the town board) kind of went off track, because we had a lot of other things going on with this board. We had problems trying to find someone that we felt was a good fit to operate the theater and do it in the manner that we wanted to see it done.”

McGinn also said: “We see it (the movie theater) as an economic driver for the village. If the village does good, we all do good. I just feel we have a relationship with him at this point. He has shown himself to be very willing to try to bring this to a successful conclusion. We need someone to try to do this, besides ourselves. I think it’s worth giving it a shot.”

Bingham expressed concerns over a currently proposed out-of-pocket expense clause, in addition to the $20,000 “success fee” Sheeran would earn if his firm successfully leased or sold the theater.

More than 35 years of experience in the public and private sectorsOn Palmer Economic Development’s website, Sheeran is described as the overseer of the firm’s economic development, real estate development, project financing and government-related projects as well as marketing and promotional consulting for corporate clients.

According to the website, Sheeran has more than 35 years of experience in both the public and private sectors. He was the executive director of Yonkers Industrial Development Agency and special assistant and chief economic development advisor to the Yonkers mayor.

In his Yonkers capacity, Sheeran worked closely with colleagues in government and developers/investors “in completing over $2 billion of new development, creating over 4,000 new jobs and a projected $4 billion in new development,” the website said. He also worked for Chase Manhattan Bank for 25 years.

McGinn stressed success fees are very common place for this type of work, adding the Palmer Economic Development gets the fee only “if he brings someone to buy or lease to a successful conclusion. If we find something on our own, there’s no success fee.”

He also added getting the theater - officially renamed as the Monroe Theater by the board last month after being previously being called the Town of Monroe Arts and Civic Center - back into the private sector is something the board wants to see happen.

In other business, the board:Tabled detailed discussion on any supportive funding for a Monroe Free Library garden courtyard proposal. However, the board unanimously approved the assistance of its highway department for project installation, if the department has the time and resources to assist.

Tabled a work authorization agreement for Phase 2 of Smith Farm, pending attorney review.

Honored the two Monroe-Woodbury Middle School Odyssey of the Mind teams which competed in recent state competition with special recognition plaques. The team which placed second is entitled to participate in world finals, and on Tuesday, the Monroe-Woodbury School District approved its participation, though the team must raise all the funds to go to Iowa.

Rejected all refuse and recycle bids that were previously submitted to the Town of Monroe and will determine new specifications for more detailed and new Request for Proposal bids.

Passed Local Laws 5 and 6 which tighten attendance requirements for regular and alternate Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board members.

Approved a $50 fee for the use of the O&R property, plus a $500 refundable security deposit, for the South Orange Family YMCA’s community yoga event to benefit its Strong Kids Campaign in June.

Noted it is seeking two high school summer interns to assist in the town clerk’s office.

- Nancy Kriz



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