(BINGHAMTON, NY) The Greater Binghamton entertainment scene just got a bit brighter downtown.
Senator Fred Akshar joined local officials and representatives from Friends of the Forum, Broadway in Binghamton, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Tri-Cities Opera and the Binghamton Theater Organ Society to officially unveil a brand-new digital marquee for the Broome County Forum Theatre.
The upgraded marquee will allow the Forum to better advertise upcoming events and increase ticket sales. While the new marquee boards will help modernize the 100-year old theatre, the new panels fit inside of the existing letter panel openings to maintain the classic aesthetic that defines the historical downtown venue.
Funding for the new digital marquee was secured by Senator Fred Akshar through the State and Municipal Facilities Program of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY).
“Our community is so fortunate to have so many dedicated individuals and organizations working day-in and day-out to ensure that we have outstanding and accessible arts and entertainment to offer our local residents and to attract visitors from surrounding regions,” said Senator Fred Akshar. “I'm proud to play a small part in securing resources to support their work.”
The upgrades are arriving just in time, as Broadway In Binghamton's production of “Chicago” lights up the stage this Saturday, January 26th at 7:30 PM and Sunday, January 27th, at 3:00 PM and 7:30 PM.
Albert Nocciolino, President & CEO of NAC Entertainment and Broadway in Binghamton, said, “We are very proud to have been part of the Broome County Arts community and a tenant of the Forum for many years. This fabulous new digital marquee will enhance the theatre and draw more attention to all of the wonderful events that the thriving arts community provides. We would like to thank Sen. Akshar for his tremendous support.”
Ron Sall, founder and board member of Friends of the Forum, said, “The Friends of the Forum are thrilled and thankful for the support of Senator Akshar in helping the whole community with the the new digital LED marquee at our historic Forum Theatre. This will be the beginning of other improvements and upgrades that will help bring many more people to our community to enjoy the quality culture events that are brought to us many time a year. “
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, “I cannot say thank you enough to Senator Akshar for securing the funding for the brand new LED marquee at Broome County’s Forum Theatre. We are very proud to own the Forum which brings so many great art and entertainment events to Broome County. I always say that ‘first impressions are everything’ and I strongly believe that this new look outside our facility will help bring even more people through the doors to experience the incredible things we have to offer our residents and visitors.”
Binghamton Mayor Richard C. David said, “For decades, the Forum has provided residents with exceptional access to a broad variety of performances and has drawn visitors to Binghamton from across the region and beyond. The new marquee enhances the exterior of this cherished downtown anchor, just as we prepare to advance the $3.6 million DECO District with the Forum at its center.”
Brittany Hall, Executive Director of the Binghamton Philharmonic, said, "Binghamton is fortunate to have the Forum as a pillar of the Downtown arts scene, and the new dynamic marquee is a fitting way to showcase our community's diverse performing arts opportunities. The Binghamton Philharmonic is proud to be part of these great steps forward."
Andrea Gregori, Director of Community Engagement for the Tri-Cities Opera, said, "We're so grateful to Senator Akshar for securing the necessary funding to upgrade the Forum marquee, and for helping to preserve Binghamton's history. This historic theatre will continue to play a very significant role in revitalizing all of Broome County."
Nancy Wildoner, Binghamton Theater Organ Society Board member, said, “The Forum is Home to a unique 1920’s era Robert-Morton Theater Organ, that was installed here by volunteers in 1978. BTOS is happy to showcase the Theater Organ with silent films and concerts, and it’s wonderful to see improvements being made to the venue. “
In addition to the $125,000 grant for upgrades including the new digital marquee, Akshar also secured $100,000 for infrastructure improvements to the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena, including much-needed upgrades to the locker rooms and HVAC system. Early estimates from Broome County officials show that these upgrades could save the the County $60,000 per year in operating costs.
Chris Marion, manager of the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena and Forum Theatre, said, “We are very grateful to Senator Akshar for the SAM grant funding as we work to improve our facilities for the promoters, tenants, and most importantly, the patrons of both the Arena and Forum Theatre. The Forum marquee project as well as the Arena improvements will benefit everyone who uses the building for years to come while lowering operating costs and improving fan experience”.
“Over the past few years, downtown Binghamton has seen a true resurgence,” said Senator Fred Akshar. “We're always looking for ways to help keep that momentum going and help build on the incredible quality of life that our community offers its residents. I'm happy to fight for as many resources as I can to help our community grow and thrive.” said Senator Akshar.