The Pittsfield Community Theatre, built in 1915, is shown in October. The town-owned Pittsfield Community Theatre needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in upgrades and repairs. The Town Council recently decided not to list the building for sale. Above, the theater, built in 1915, is shown in October. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

PITTSFIELD — The future of the shuttered Pittsfield Community Theatre remains uncertain as the Town Council recently decided to refrain from putting the downtown building up for sale.

The fate of the theater continues to be a thorn in the side of town officials, who agree the building is costing the town money and will become a liability, if it isn’t already. But the building continues to sit dormant as the council has repeatedly failed to agree on a way to offload it.

Councilors last week considered a resolution to list the property with Allied Realty of Skowhegan and choose a new listing price. But after much debate, they voted down the resolution and decided not to place it on the market.

Councilor Heather Donahue was the one vote in favor of listing the theater, and said that she was frustrated with the council’s delay in selling the property. She said other councilors seem to be waiting for the perfect option, instead of prioritizing a sale now.

“I don’t think that we’re doing a service to the town of Pittsfield by hanging on to this, waiting to see what if, what if …” Donahue said. “We need to sell the building. We need to not be responsible, for it and we need to give somebody an opportunity to start that downtown revitalization that we so desperately all want to see.”

The Town Council recently decided not to list the Pittsfield Community Theatre for sale. Above, Don Chute, front, director of the Pittsfield Public Works Department, and department employee Matt Lary look over the auditorium of the theater on Main Street in October. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

Much of the dispute centered around decisions made in the fall when the town had an offer from Hammer Down Inc., a company that was looking to invest in the property and use it as a movie theater and entertainment venue. The offer was far below the $149,900 asking price, at just $20,000 because of the extent of work the building needs.


The offer was vetted by the Pittsfield Economic Expansion Corp., a nonprofit group that works with the town on economic development, but the council rejected a motion to hold a public hearing to discuss the offer.

There also has been discussions about forming a nonprofit organization to take over the theater, as was proposed when the theater closed in 2020. A nonprofit now has been created but Donahue pointed out that the group still does not have the money to buy or repair the theater.

Other councilors argued the problem with the last offer was that the expansion corporation did not properly prepare Hammer Down for scrutiny from the council, and there is no need to rush into a sale now.

“It’s just not that critical,” Councilor Jason Hall said.

Mayor Michael Cianchette said he had information about a potential sale of multiple buildings downtown, including the theater. He said he did not want to list the property now, to give that potential buyer more time to organize.

“If it’s a simple thing of tabling, just give it another few months — now two months (later) if there’s nothing that’s presented to the council, then we’ll list it,” Cianchette said. “I mean it’s been almost three, three and a half years, what’s another 60 days?”

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