Faced with the loss of state grant dollars and questions about whether they have the wherewithal to bring the project to fruition, the Mid Mon Valley Cultural Trust has appointed a consultant to serve as the project manager for the proposed restoration of the Coyle Theater in Charleroi.
Barry Cassidy, a Canonsburg native who now resides in Philadelphia, will be guiding the strategic planning and development of the former one-screen moviehouse that closed its doors in 1999. The announcement comes a little over a month after the state pulled the balance of a 2008 slots grant totaling almost $180,000 because the Mid Mon Valley Cultural Trust could not show it had raised enough money to complete the project, and they could not demonstrate that the theater restoration was feasible. Another grant, for $250,000 from the state Department of Community and Economic Development, also is hanging in the balance.
Charleroi Mayor Nancy Ellis said in a news release that Cassidy’s “vast array of experiences will help the trust with grant packaging and project management.”
In the same release, Cassidy said he and the trust will “start again from scratch,” with an eye toward starting construction at the 1,000-seat theater on McKean Avenue in July 2014. Supporters of the Coyle restoration envision it becoming an arthouse movie theater and performing arts center.
Cassidy’s resume includes downtown revitalization projects in DuBois, Downingtown and the South Street District in Philadelphia. He is the co-founder of the Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Downtown Center, a group dedicated to revitalizing central business districts and surrounding neighborhoods.