Friday afternoon on Main Street in Sag Harbor

Just two days before the first anniversary of the Sag Harbor Cinema fire on Dec. 16 of last year, the Sag Harbor Partnership announced that they have received a $1.4 million grant from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council, putting them within a hair’s breadth of the $8 million needed to buy the property.

The Partnership has launched the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center, a non-profit that will provide community access to all things film at the site of the historic theater.

“What better news could there be on the eve of this anniversary than this major step forward,” said State Assemblyman Fred Thiele of Sag Harbor on Wednesday, according to an announcement from the Partnership. “This is really just a first step — this funding will go towards the acquisition of the property, but we need to keep this public-private partnership alive. I think there will clearly be funding down the line for construction.” 

The Partnership also announced Thursday that “Tom of Shelter Island, a wonderful philanthropist whose name may be familiar to you from fundraising drives on WSHU, has given us a matching grant of $10,000!”

“Now you may be wondering why we’re not all kicking back in a hammock in a sunny clime somewhere. Well, as anyone who has bought a house knows, we still have closing costs to raise, and then there’s the capital building campaign we’ll be undertaking!,” according to the Partnership. “So yes, your contributions are still essential to saving our Cinema, and although we’re only a whisper away from the full $8M, we still need you!”

The group has until next Wednesday, Dec. 20th, at midnight to make their new challenge grant of $10,000. Donations are being accepted online here.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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