PITTSFIELD — Town councilors this week agreed to lower the listing price for the Pittsfield Community Theater to $149,900 in an effort to attract a buyer for the property.

The theater’s original sale price was $179,000. While several parties visited the theater and seemed interested, none of them made offers after learning of the repairs it would need. Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said the new price was recommended by the real estate agents who are working with the town.

“They have come up with that price from looking at other facilities that are similar to ours and other sales that have taken place,” Ruth said during Wednesday’s council meeting.

The Pittsfield Community Theater opened in 1915 as Leger’s Theater and screened silent movies. In 1929 it became Bijou Theater and had a sound system installed. It then changed ownership several times, until the town purchased it in 1977 for $24,000.

The theater permanently closed last fall and the council voted to sell the downtown property. It had been losing money for several years, although at the start of 2020 there were plans to turn it into a nonprofit so it could operate independently from the town. But those plans were disrupted by the pandemic, and the theater had to close in March of last year because of gathering restrictions.

The council also heard from police Chief Harold “Pete” Bickmore about staffing in the department. While the police department now has only one opening for a full-time officer, it is still struggling as one of the other officers is in the academy and another has not attended the academy and can’t work a shift alone.

Bickmore recently hired an officer from the Portland police force who was able to come in and start working independently. He said he’s looking for another experienced officer to fill the final position, but hasn’t had any apply. Bickmore said the council needs to approve further incentives to get the department fully staffed.

“I hate to say we need more, but we need more,” Bickmore said.

In July, the council approved a $15,000 signing bonus for new officers, created a sick leave bank and extended the residency requirement for officers to 50 miles from the police station. In September, the council also approved a pay increase for all officers and additional vacation time.

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