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Cohoes Music Hall

Municipality: Cohoes
County: Albany County
Population: 10,001 to 50,000
Type: City

2017 Local Government Achievement Award

City Hall: (518) 233-2121

When elected in 2016, Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse partnered with the Executive Director of the Palace Theater in Albany to make the Cohoes Music Hall one of the fastest growing music halls in the Capital Region. Prior to the partnership, the Music Hall, which opened in 1874, was operated by a private group responsible for programming and the city kept ownership of the building and was responsible for maintenance and utilities. The cost to the city was $90,000 a year and little revenue if any was received by the city. The group failed to pay its loans to the Cohoes LDC and the Music Hall was on the cusp of closing its doors.

In the first six months of the partnership with the Palace, attendance at the Music Hall increased to more than 9,000 visitors and the city saved thousands of dollars in operating and labor costs. For the first time in a decade, the city reduced costs by 75% and in the following season will see a zero contribution in operating and labor costs. Visitors are expected to increase to 40,000 a year and the city’s income to grow to more than $120,000 a year. The city is seeing $2 per ticket for the first two years and $3 per ticket in year three of a three-year agreement.

Cohoes and its partners have seen better service, consolidation of multiple functions into one tool, decreased need for supplies and equipment, empowerment of users, improved interface, increased customizability, increased longevity, increased productivity, reduced user effort, saving of money, saving of space or storage and saving of time.

The Music Hall will also be the new home for Park Playhouse and the Comedy Works. Park Playhouse will be working with the Cohoes School District to return programs that were eliminated due to budget cuts. The city is currently working with private investors to build more than 145 new market rate apartments and commercial space in the heart of the city. The downtown is making a comeback thanks to the Music Hall and the city has agreed to more than $20 million of new investment based on the success of the Music Hall.