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Volunteers Aim To Save Rutherford Performing Arts Center

The Williams Center in Rutherford.
The Williams Center in Rutherford. Photo Credit: GoFundMe
The Williams Center in Rutherford.
The Williams Center in Rutherford. Photo Credit: GoFundMe
The Williams Center in Rutherford.
The Williams Center in Rutherford. Photo Credit: GoFundMe

RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Hundreds of local volunteers are trying to raise funds to help save the William Carlos Williams Center for the Arts in Rutherford.

The group is looking to lease three digital movie projectors which would allow the Center to show newer movies which are formatted for high tech projectors, said Matthew Rossi, a Rutherford father who is helping lead the fundraising effort.

More than $6,000 had been raised as of Monday night.

The three movie theaters in the center currently use projectors that only show film in outdated 35-millimeter format.

Leasing the new projectors would cost between $20,000 and $25,000, and would allow the nonprofit Williams Center to start generating some revenue again, he said

"The projectors the center has can't get first-run movies anymore," Rossi, 34, explained. "If we had new projectors the movie theaters could start bringing in marginal money that could help sustain the place."

In recent years, funding for the county-owned Williams Center — which has stood in Downtown Rutherford since the early 1920's — has grown tight.

The two live theaters in the center have been closed for renovations since 2012, and Rossi said it is used less and less as a venue.

He fears that if the Center doesn't start generating revenue soon, it will be torn down.

"If the building falls into disrepair and is shuttered, it will be demolished in very short order," Rossi said.

He believes saving the building would provide a major economic boost to the borough.

"It is located right in the heart of the business district," Rossi said. "It will encourage people to go out and spend money in town."

He added that he would like to preserve the Center for future generations.

"I used to go there all the time as a kid," the Hasbrouck Heights native said. "Now that I have a family here I want them to go to someplace safe and nice that is right in town."

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