The historic Riviera Theatre’s planned expansion got a welcome boost today courtesy of Assemblyman Robin Schimminger.
“I’m pleased to announce that I am directing a $75,000 State Assembly grant to the Riviera Theatre to help undertake a major capital project involving the purchase of an adjacent building that will allow for an expansion of the theatre’s restroom, box office and dressing room facilities,” said Assemblyman Schimminger. “The ‘Riv’ is a longstanding entertainment and cultural jewel in the Tonawandas, and is a key component in the ongoing revitalization of downtown North Tonawanda and the surrounding Gateway Harbor area of the Twin Cities.”
The Riviera Theatre and Organ Preservation Society, Inc. which owns and operates the landmark theatre, is close to finalizing its purchase of the Competition Transmission building located immediately to the rear of the theatre. A new façade, additional restrooms, a ground floor box office and up-to-date dressing rooms are among the improvements slated for the Main Street building. Plans also call for a connecting link between the buildings and a second entrance on Main to improve access to the theatre. The funds secured by Schimminger bring the project close to the $750,000 needed to complete the first segment of the $1.6 million multi-phase project.
“We are very excited and appreciative of the support Assemblyman Schimminger continues to provide the Riviera Theatre,” said Frank Cannata, the theatre’s executive director. “Assemblyman Schimminger has consistently played a major role over the years assisting the Riviera Theatre and Organ Preservation Society to provide majestic showplace for first-class entertainment. This generous grant will help fund capital improvements needed to expand our programming and patron comfort.”
“This is truly an exciting project for North Tonawanda,” said Schimminger. “Not only will the expansion enhance the Riv’s ability to offer bigger and more varied productions, it will improve the ambience on Main Street and have a positive economic impact on downtown North Tonawanda. This project will cement the Riviera Theatre’s legacy as ‘The Showplace of the Tonawandas’ and ensure that it will remain home to ‘The Mighty Wurlitzer’ pipe organ for generations to come.”