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City Growth Fund approves $60,000 loan for Ogdensburg cinema

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The Ogdensburg Growth Fund Development Corp. agreed Wednesday to lend Plattsburgh developer Gilbert J. Jones $60,000 to upgrade his downtown cinema.

The city’s lending agency voted 6-0-1 to approve a five-year loan at no interest for two years and 2 percent annually for three years after that. Board member Scott M. Wright abstained because his family’s company, Pepsi-Cola Ogdensburg Bottlers, does business with the cinema.

The money is for the purchase of digital projection equipment for Mr. Jones’s twin-screen Ogdensburg Cinema I and II theaters at 119 Ford St., which he closed last summer.

Mayor William D. Nelson, the Growth Fund’s chairman, said he looked forward to Mr. Jones reopening the city’s only movie theater.

“The city is looking forward to working with him,” Mr. Nelson said.

Mr. Jones wasn’t present at the meeting or available for comment Wednesday.

Earlier this year, he asked the Growth Fund for a $100,000 loan, but the Growth Fund only approved him for $60,000. Later, Mr. Jones modified his request, telling the Growth Fund that he might consider $60,000 at 0 percent interest in four years.

The Growth Fund based its offer on its bylaws-allowed formula of $15,000 for every 35-hour-a-week, full-time equivalency job created. Mr. Jones originally calculated for 12 full- and part-time jobs over three years with positions including manager, film booker, projectionists, concession workers and a custodial worker. He later amended the number to seven full-time employees. The Growth Fund board concluded that his plans would only accommodate four full-time equivalency positions.

Mr. Jones bought the 9,000-square-foot, 448-seat cinema in 1980 and has since spent $85,000 on a new roof and ventilation system. He also installed a $73,000 marquee with assistance from a $50,000 state grant and just spent $42,000 on additional renovations. Voting with Mr. Nelson in favor of the loan were City Manager John M. Pinkerton, Sam J. LaMacchia, Lori Smithers, Dallas Sutton and Gary Hammond.

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