Easthampton’s CitySpace receives $500K from anonymous donors

  • Carol Abbe Smith and Jean-Pierre Pasche, CitySpace board members, stand with architectural renderings of what the space will look like after renovations. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Painted glass windows in the upstairs space in the Old Town Hall in Easthampton. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS 

  • Carol Abbe Smith, a CitySpace board member, stands with architectural renderings of what the space will look like after renovations. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Jean-Pierre Pasche, owner of the Big Red Frame located on the first floor of the Old Town Hall in Easthampton, looks over an architectural rendering of CitySpace. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS 

  • Carol Abbe Smith and Jean-Pierre Pasche, both CitySpace board members, stand with architectural renderings of what the space will look like after renovations. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS 

  • An architectural rendering of what CitySpace will look like after renovations. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS 

  • Jean-Pierre Pasche, owner of the Big Red Frame located on the first floor of the Old Town Hall in Easthampton, looks at an upstairs window. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS 

  • The Easthampton Old Town Hall space that CitySpace board members are raising money to renovate. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS 

  • An architectures rendition of what City Space will look like on the out side after the renovation. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • An architectures rendition of what City Space will look like on the out side after the renovation. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • An architectures rendition of what City Space will look like on the out side after the renovation. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • An architectures rendition of what City Space will look like after the renovation. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 10/8/2019 11:50:01 PM

EASTHAMPTON — A city nonprofit has received $500,000 in pledges courtesy of a couple who wish to remain anonymous.

“The donation is fantastic,” said Michael Tautznik, a former Easthampton mayor and the treasurer of CitySpace.

He also said that CitySpace, a nonprofit that is in charge of restoring, preserving and managing the Old Town Hall building, needs to raise a large amount of funding from the private sector.

CitySpace is currently raising funds for the estimated $6.6 million renovation, which will include the installation of a black box theater and supporting facilities on the second floor, as well as a new heating and cooling system and an elevator that will make every floor of the building accessible to the disabled. CitySpace worked with Kuhn Riddle Architects to create the cost estimates for the project, and Kuhn Riddle has also created renderings of the building post-renovation.

CitySpace received a first pledge of $250,000 over five years. The other half of the couple then decided to match this pledge with another $250,000 over the same time period.

“They wanted to do something for the town,” said CitySpace board member Carol Abbe Smith.

According to a statement, the second donor chose to match the amount after learning the direct impact that the money would have on CitySpace’s planned renovation of the Old Town Hall.

If the current timeline for the renovation holds, with the building process slated to begin in 2021, at least $200,000 of the donations will be used toward the renovation. Both pledges are unrestricted.

“That shows trust in CitySpace and this project,” said Burns Maxey, president of CitySpace.

Established in 2006, CitySpace seeks to both preserve the Old Town Hall building and to provide space for the arts and creative businesses in the city. Currently, CitySpace has three tenants on its first floor: Big Red Frame, Easthampton City Arts and Flywheel Arts Collective.

With the donations, the amount raised toward the renovation project is approximately $3.8 million. Maxey said the money from the pledges not used toward the project will go toward helping to establish an endowment for CitySpace.

Tautznik said that the endowment will help to sustain the performance space for several years as the business plan for it gets implemented.

“We’re pretty confident that it’s exactly what the Valley needs,” he said. “We think this fills a niche.”

Tautznik and members of his late wife’s family earlier donated $50,000 toward the renovation in her honor. A local artist, Debra Tautznik died in June 2015.

Speaking of the $500,000 in pledges, Tautznik, said, “When I heard about it, I teared up.”

He also said that the renovation of the building will create a real asset for the community.

“The work that’s gone into it shows,” he said.

And he expressed hope that these big pledges will cause others with means to donate.

CitySpace is also currently in the middle of a $15,000 crowdfunding effort toward the renovations that will culminate at an Oct. 19 party celebrating the Old Town Hall’s 150th anniversary.

At the Old Town Hall Ball, attendees can arrive in the fashion of any historical era. The ball will take place in the Eastworks Ballroom, and the $20 tickets will support the cost of putting it on.

Donors can also purchase named plaques for the 350 seats in the planned second-floor theater space. The cost per chair is $500.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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