Auburn Schine Theater open house likely to be last before restoration

The green and terra cotta doors to the Auburn Schine Theater will once again be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, during the annual CNY TomatoFest event downtown.

Visitors will be able to walk through the doors and lobby of the theater to its auditorium that afternoon. A roped-off aisle will extend to the stage, and artifacts from the theater, such as signage and light fixtures, will be displayed. Members of the Cayuga County Arts Council, the theater’s owner, will be there to answer questions about its restoration. And giveaways will go to the first 750 visitors.

The open house will double as a celebration of the Schine’s 80th birthday, as the art deco theater opened on Sept. 15, 1938. It showed its last movie in 1978. The theater was purchased 20 years later by the arts council, which has since worked to restore it. The council is now selling the theater to Bowers Development, of Syracuse, and recently received approval from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to do so. Bowers has estimated it can complete the theater’s restoration by October 2019, with the project costing $6 million.

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