PACC earns $15,000 grant for Jackson Theater

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area Community Center’s Jackson Theater will receive some equipment upgrades and become even more of a local attraction in coming months, thanks to a grant from Dominion Energy’s philanthropic foundation.

Tuesday, PACC Executive Director Rob McCoy and board Secretary Teresa Neal accepted a $15,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation, through which Dominion Energy contributes more than $20 million annually to charities in the states where it operates, or the locations where it has significant facilities or business interests, said Daniel Donovan, director of media relations for Dominion Energy.

In the Punxsy area, Dominion operates a pumping station located off
Route 210, just south of Punxsy, where it relays gas to other major stations in end-user markets, said John Love, vice-president of engineering and plant operations in Clarksburg, W.Va.

In the grant application, the center said it seeks to upgrade the sound system, and purchase a projector and a retractable screen for the theater.

McCoy said an existing screen on the stage takes a number of hours and manpower to move. The new screen would retract into a device above the stage at the flip of a switch, he said.

The retractable screen would make the stage more available for other youth- and community-oriented activities, McCoy said, citing the Van Dyke & Company and the Mahoning Valley Ballet’s production of “Dracula” in early November.

Neal, who is also the chairperson of the center board’s theater committee, said movies at the Jackson Theater are a popular attraction for all walks of life.

When the theater, which can seat about 1,000 people, presents films for children, it attracts between 60 and 100 people, depending on the film, Neal said.

“If we have a kids’ movie, and especially if it’s animated, they’re here,” she said.

The Jackson is also a destination of “date nights” for couples who don’t want to drive elsewhere, and Fridays are traditionally when a number of high school students spend the late afternoon and evening downtown at the theater.

Films such as “The Blind Side” and those from the “Twilight” series have attracted up to 200 people, Neal said.

During the third Sundays of the month, the Jackson also welcomes guests from Fayette Resources’ different locations for afternoon matinees, she said.

“Certainly, this is a worthwhile project for Dominion’s involvement,” Donovan said.

McCoy said the center has already begun seeking some information regarding the upgrades, which should be completed by spring.