By Jim Lewis
Perhaps it was the Christmas spirit that moved a record number of people – 200! – to buy tickets for the Middletown Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes on Dec. 8 and 9. And maybe the 224 people who paid to see the
1954 Crosby and Kaye holiday standard, “White Christmas’’ at the Elks Theatre the same weekend.
We’d like to think the spirit that welled up in the hundreds who arrived in Middletown over that weekend was community spirit. Community pride. In a chilly drizzle, no less.
The tour and the movie, staged by the Greater Middletown Economic Development Corp. and its Save the Elks! campaign, raised about $3,000 that will go toward a new digital projector and proposed marquee for the 101-year-old movie house.
Middletown Borough Council has moved to replace GMEDC, a private, nonprofit development corporation originally formed by the borough as a conduit for the renovation of the business district, with an Industrial and Commercial Development Authority and seize the Elks building by eminent domain. Regardless of the outcome of that disagreement, a new projector will be a crucial component of the theater’s future success, no matter who holds the deed.
The success of the tour and film comes on the heels of another successful fundraiser – a spaghetti dinner at JD’s Junction that netted much-needed money for the Middletown Public Library. As council pares the borough’s general fund budget to cut electric rates, residents face the challenge of raising money in other ways to preserve the town’s venerable library – and, so far, they’re boldly stepping forward to do what they can. In tough economic times, no less.
There are plenty more fundraisers planned for the Elks and the library. The “A Very Hoffer Holiday’’ celebration in Hoffer Park, including a 5K run, and a Monty Python film festival next month are two such initiatives. We hope the community spirit does not wane at such a crucial time for two town institutions – the Elks and library.
We think it won’t.