To the Editor:

While modern technology has given us several ways of seeing movies, a town of Manchester's size without a movie house is like a town without a post office. Like many residents I am concerned about the possible demise of the Village Picture Show if the requisite money cannot be raised for it to obtain digital equipment. I hope that the town will come together to preserve this community asset as its continued existence indirectly benefits not only moviegoers but also restaurants, shops and motels.

It will not be easy to raise $175,000. Here are some ideas. How about a public meeting at MEMS or Maple Street School or BBA when Ms. Shelly Gibson can fully explain the need and respond to questions? How about the Chamber of Commerce coordinating support from the commercial interests in town? How about encouraging support from students and young town members who won't have money to give but who might be willing to run a carwash day in the spring or some similar event with the proceeds going towards the sum that is needed? How about the town budget, which already supports the library with an annual subvention, approving a proposal at the meeting in March to put forward a one-time sum of money - say, up to $15,000 - provided that it is matched by individual contributions on a five-to-one basis?

I recognize that the last idea will inevitably raise questions such as - why should town taxpayers bail out a profit-making enterprise? Isn't capitalism about letting a business fail if it cannot succeed on its own? Perfectly valid questions, but at least let us consider the idea.

My fundamental point is that the Village Picture Show is the only cinema within a radius of 25 miles. It is a valuable community asset. If we lose it it, it should not be for want of trying.

Derek Boothby Manchester