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Concerns over stream stall Sewickley theater project

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Thursday, March 20, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

A lease agreement that would allow Village Theater Company to construct a two-screen movie theater on Sewickley property has been delayed at least until mid-April.

Sewickley Council members said they had wanted to approve a lease Monday night, but concerns stemming from Hoeys Run — a stream that runs under property the nonprofit theater group wants to build on — have delayed final approval, individuals from both sides said.

“Really, it did come down to Hoeys Run,” theater company board member Alex Simakas said. “It's a concern as to what we have, where exactly is it, how deep is it,” he said.

Sewickley Mayor Brian Jeffe said council has remaining concerns. “When they're doing their due diligence, it may determine how they're building the building,” he said.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Theater organizers have said the two-screen theater would show independent and classic films, and host educational events at a location in the 400 block of Walnut Street.

In September, organizers received a $350,000 grant from the state Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund, which brought the group's total to more than $1.2 million.

The nonprofit group is trying to raise $1.5 million.

Sewickley Council members bought the land in July for $910,000. Initial plans called for the theater to be built above a proposed parking garage. Borough leaders in the fall temporarily called off plans to construct a parking garage, citing concerns over how it would be financed.

Borough leaders are awaiting results of a parking study that originally was expected to be publicly released in February.

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408.

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