By Cassandra Sottile
Elm Staff Writer
The Chester 5 Theatres, Chestertown’s movie theater, is currently in the process of negotiations to re-open.
At a Mayor and Town Council meeting on Monday, March 19, Mike Klein, Ira Miller, and Bob Weinholdt of Horizon Cinema, which operates four theaters in and around Baltimore, proposed their plan to re-open the theater at its former location in Washington Square.
In their proposal to the town council, Horizon Cinema plans to get the theater open by Memorial Day weekend. The parties involved are about $75,000 apart in their talks.
Silicato Development, owners of the Washington Square shopping center, were previously in talks about the re-opening of the theater last semester. The theater was supposed to have opened in December 2017.
“If the theater re-opens, it will help bring new business to the shopping center, something the town is interested in,” Mayor Chris Cerino said.
“The new theater owner is asking the town for financial help, which has never been done before. We want to work with everyone to think outside the box to get the capital they need without bringing risk to the town,” Cerino said.
According to a Kent County News article by Trish McGee, the Horizon group had said the proposed $75,000 advance would be repaid from the amusement tax.
The plan is for the theater to show first-run films in all five of the screens in the building. It is also planned to be completely renovated, including its restrooms and the concession stands, and installed with larger screens and new sound systems.
At the town meeting, Town Manager Bill Ingersoll was authorized to negotiate with Horizon on behalf of the council.
“The new theater will bring a new entertainment venue to the county, as well as many as 15 new jobs. It checks off a lot of boxes for economic development opportunities,” Cerino said.
The town is still in talks with Horizon Cinema about the details of the theater moving forward, but if the theater returns as a community theater, the town and WC students would definitely be excited for its return.