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WNY Power Proceeds Allocation Board recommends funding to Historic Palace Theatre in Lockport


Tue, Jun 5th 2018 05:45 pm
The Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board (WNYPPAB) on Tuesday voted to recommend $142,000 in funding to the Historic Palace Inc., a theater based in Lockport. The funding would pay for a portion of the costs associated with upgrading the theater, including new and expanded audience seating, a new stage rigging system and an expansion of the orchestra pit.
WNYPPAB's recommendation is expected to be considered by the New York Power Authority board of trustees at a future date.
"The funding recommended today would allow this iconic theater located in Western New York to grow by increasing its ability to accommodate larger live shows and increase profitability," WNYPPAB Chairman Anthony J. Colucci III said. "In addition, the project will complement other New York state investments in Lockport, including the construction of the CFCU Arena and restoration of the Flight of Five Locks."
The Historic Palace will use WNYPPAB recommended funding to support its renovation by replacing its antiquated six-bar stage rigging with a new, 20- to 30-bar system to support lighting and other equipment, adding seating to accommodate larger shows, and expanding the orchestra pit to allow more space for musicians and for electrical system upgrades.
Proposed upgrades to the theater are estimated to increase visitor numbers from 85,000 to 125,000 per year, and economic impact from $2.4 million to more than $3.5 million annually for Lockport.
The latest recommendation for power proceeds awards stem from legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, known as the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Act. The legislation authorizes net earnings from the sale of unused hydropower from NYPA's Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant to be deposited into the Western New York Economic Development Fund to support economic development in Western New York. The fund has accrued approximately $41 million to date. Approximately $36 million from that amount has been approved for awards by the NYPA trustees on the basis of earlier recommendations by the proceeds allocation board. These earnings are designated to spur capital investments and job growth.
The WNYPPAB reviewed this and other applications for fund proceeds in accordance with requirements of the act. For example, eligible projects must be located within a 30-mile radius of NYPA's Niagara Power Project. The allocation board also considers the extent to which an award would be consistent with the strategies and priorities of the area New York regional economic development councils. Contracts with awardees will include provisions for periodic audits to ensure the funds are utilized for agreed-upon purposes. Some projects are subject to legal requirements that must be satisfied before an award of fund proceeds can be made.

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