Every project needs to begin with a solid foundation. As president and CEO of Kennebec Savings Bank, I mean that both literally and figuratively. When we finance new construction loans for our customers, they start their journey as a homeowner when the concrete is poured. That foundation sets the stage for the building to begin.

Communities have foundations, too. They are built from the historical fabric of our towns and cities across Maine. Communities large and small have their signature spots where people gather — from downtown diners to historical theaters and museums and parks. These places help bring us together and share common interests with one another. They are a collection of old and new, as well as reminders of the days of our past and signs of our future. It is our responsibility to ensure these places thrive within our communities.

In Augusta our Capitol City, like many other cities, we have these iconic places, many of them. Our own headquarters on State Street is in the Tappan-Viles Mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We have been fortunate to maintain this building over the years — but not all of these places have been well preserved.

The Augusta Colonial Theatre, for example, is a worn-out movie theater that has been silenced by neglect for the past 40 years, but still holds the memories of many families. Back in its day, it had a long run of captivating audiences as one of the entertainment hubs in Kennebec County. Built in 1913, it even made a comeback after the 1926 fire when it suffered extensive damage. It was rebuilt larger than the original movie house and better than ever, but eventually closed its doors in February of 1969 with uncertainty that it would ever serve the community again.

In 2011, the Colonial Theatre was listed on Maine Preservation’s list of Most Endangered Historic Resources. Subsequently, Augusta Colonial Theatre was born as a non-profit 501c3. With a mission to restore and operate the theater once again, the group hired an engineer who determined the building is sound, but in order to maintain its preservation and bring life back to the theater, it would require extensive repairs.

The flooring is one of many repairs needed in its road to recovery. With community in mind, Kennebec Savings Bank was proud to announce its donation of $100,000 to help ensure the flooring work will be completed and we could move to the next step in the theater’s revitalization (“Augusta’s Colonial Theatre gets $100,000 for renovations,” Aug. 25).

As a Maine native and someone intrigued by local history, it’s easy for me to support a cause that rejuvenates a part of our city. However, supporting a community is bigger than any one person and bigger than any one community bank — we pride ourselves on being part of the fabric of our community and hope that our involvement in these important projects will inspire other people to become involved and join the efforts.

This historic movie theater will attract new audiences to the arts and provide a much-needed boost to the economic development of our Capitol City. Not only will it preserve the historical lessons and stories of our past, but it will create a new environment for people to socialize and strengthen our communities as a whole.

Our involvement as a community bank is important to us, but this project needs more than a bank, it needs the support of many, many people — because people are truly the foundation, which make our communities stronger.

Andrew Silsby is President & CEO of Kennebec Savings Bank, a $912 million state-chartered community bank, part of a mutual organization, with a team of over 125 employees.

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