Kurt Heitmann, 48, of Garrison, is the first one to say that there are no easy paths when it comes to bringing the Paramount Center for Performing Arts back to prominence.
But Heitmann, the principal of Red House Entertainment, believes his group has the expertise and experience needed to get the theater up and running.
"It's going to take some time to bring back acts and it's going to take some time to bring back sponsors who might feel jaded because of their dealings with the other group," said Heitmann, who heads the Red House Entertainment group. "It usually takes six to eight months in advance to book acts. You can't just say 'my theater is open now and I need to get somebody in next Saturday'."
Red House Entertainment is one of three groups that submitted proposals to lease and manage the Paramount from the City of Peekskill. The other two groups are the Tarrytown Music Hall and the Paramount Phoenix Group.
All three candidates are scheduled to present their proposals to the public at a Peekskill Common Council workshop scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, inside city hall.
The Paramount has been closed since October, after the original management group failed to reach its fundraising goals.
Heitmann, a Peekskill native, has been in the sports and entertainment production industry for more than 30 years. He started as sound engineer and worked for a number of acts, including Jimmy Buffett.
He has won four Emmys for his work at ESPN, covering the National Hockey League and the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
Heitmann said Red House Entertainment LLC. was formed with the expressed purposed of running the Paramount. He said his team has more than 100 years of combined experience in the entertainment business.
There are also plans to create a nonprofit corporation will focus on working with schools and other nonprofits.
"I have a vested interest in Peekskill and the Paramount," Heitmann said. "For us, it's a unique opportunity and we feel that we bring the best proposal to the table."
Heitmann questioned if an outside group, like the Tarrytown Music Hall, would have the same amount of dedication to the city.
"I'd say that if you want another village running your city's theater, then it makes sense," Heitmann said. "But the interest of the Tarrytown Music Hall is with Tarrytown. The interest of our group is with Peekskill and this area."
Heitmann doesn't believe Paramount can survive if it tries to compete with the Capitol Theater in Port Chester and tries to put on 100 music acts a year. He believes the theater needs to take advantage of the surrounding community, especially the local art scene.
He also believes that it's important for the theater to stay active 5 to 6 days a week. That could mean hosting simulcasts from the Lincoln Center, movies and summer camps, or renting the theater out for events.
"I think the Paramount, in itself, is unique because it is located in a really cool downtown environment and I don't think there are many places around that are similar," Heitmann said.
Heitmann said his group has no interest in changing the exterior or interior of the building.
"We're going to run it the way it needs to be run," Heitmann said. "Obviously, we need to work with the City of Peekskill, but they've indicated that they'd be willing to work with us on a lot of things."
Heitmann said his group probably wouldn't start running evens at the Paramount until June, due to all of the legal matters the city needs to work out with the previous management group.
If chosen, Heitmann said he'd like to kick things off with a summer festival sometime in July.
"Let's face it, the Paramount can't afford another setback," Heitmann said. "It has to be done right this time."