Madison, NJ News — The May 29th, 2017 closing of Madison's Bowtie Cinema seemed to take the community by surprise. If we take the comments of our elected officials at the July 24th Borough Council meeting at face value, they seemed to be surprised by it all as well.
But should they have been?
It is common knowledge in the region that downtown cinemas in small municipalities like Madison are threatened with closure. Just over one year ago, Bowtie closed its downtown cinema in Summit, NJ. There was outcry and anger in the community there, and with a common voice on social media as well through other channels: "Why weren't we informed earlier?"
Naturally, the strength of our communities are built on the sanctity of private property and free markets. Owners of property are free to sell it to any willing buyer. But we also live in a community that has preferences in the amenities where they live. Was it not clear to our local officials that like Summit, so many people in Madison considered the downtown Bowtie Cinema an important amenity and an advantage of living in a town like Madison?
We feel that elected officials are elected not only to pass budgets and appropriate funds to repair roads. By virtue of their position, they have a unique vantage point. They can observe things happening in the community that the average resident cannot possibly see. They should understand those cultural symbols that make Madison the town that it is, those that are important to the community. And when they are threatened, they should afford the community the option of saving that cultural symbol.
It would not be unfeasible to imagine that with fair warning and advance notice, impassioned residents could create a foundation and raise funds to buy the property and preserve our historic cinema.
One could easily imagine a reinvigorated theater that could have not only shown movies, but also acted as a cultural center, a meeting place for the community. It would usher in a new era for our community, while at the same time preserving its history and heritage.
But the community was not afforded that option, because our elected officials, the only group that could have possibly foreseen this event, did not.
While the story of the Movie Theater is far from over, and concerned residents are acting to save it, the lesson it provides is equally important. We need new faces and new ideas on Borough Council. This Council has become complacent and in many ways is not acting in the best interests of all residents, but only some residents, reminding us of our Founding Fathers concern about a “Tyranny of the Majority.”
So please come join us bring change to Madison Borough Council. You can donate to the Madison Republican Committee to support our 2017 Campaign. You can sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact either Ron Hendrickson or Denis Schreiber by email to make your views known.