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THE GARDE ARTS CENTER PAYS OFF $2 MILLION LOAN FROM THE SOUTHEAST REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND (SRDF)

January 16, 2019 |

The Southeast Regional Development Fund or SRDF, is a revolving loan fund managed by seCTer. Originally capitalized at $5 million, the SRDF has generated nearly $15 million in loan funding for small businesses in southeastern Connecticut. As the original $5 million was paid back, principal was recapitalized and converted into new loans. A large part of that fund is attributable to the Garde Arts Center, southeastern Connecticut’s nonprofit home for the performing arts, cinema and education.

The Garde Arts Center, Inc. was founded as a nonprofit corporation in 1985 by leaders in banking, business, education and the arts to purchase, and thereby save from demolition, the 1400-seat historic (1926) Garde Theater movie palace. With a State-approved Master Plan for the restoration and expansion of the theater into an “arts block,” the Garde began in 1994 with an $11 million capital fundraising campaign that would provide a new future for the theater and a catalyst for the economic rejuvenation of the city and the region. Towards that effort, the Garde was awarded $4.5 million in state of Connecticut bond funds, plus a $2 million construction loan which became a new and permanent part of seCTer lending funds servicing the entire region. Twenty years after completing the first phase of renovations, the Garde is proud to have recently paid off that $2 million loan. The Garde has been deeply satisfied to see their payments handled respectfully and intentionally especially as the original loan has become a permanent source of economic fuel for other entities throughout the region. The Garde has helped found and provide ongoing support to numerous important regional assets, including the Regional Multicultural Magnet School, Interdistrict School for the Arts and Communication, New London Main Street, City Center and the Cultural Coalition of Southeastern Connecticut. SeCTer is honored to have played a part in the critically important and transformative work the Garde has done for the region.
It is not cheap to maintain this community gem. In addition to their annual program and capital fundraising the Garde has recently established, with the Community Foundation of Eastern CT, the Garde Arts Center Endowment Fund, to continue the legacy that has so greatly enriched New London and our region… truly a gift that keeps on giving.