Ridgefield's Prospector Theater set to open second in Wilton

WILTON — A popular Ridgefield movie theater that employs adults with disabilities is set to open a second location in Wilton.

The Prospector Theater will be taking over the space currently occupied by Bow Tie Cinemas in the River Park shopping center at 21 River Road, Wilton, according to an announcement issued jointly by the theater and Kimco Realty, owner of River Park shopping center.

This will be an offshoot “boutique” version of the original Prospector Theater based in Ridgefield.

The Prospector Wilton will be a four screen, nonprofit premium movie theater with the mission of employing adults with disabilities (“Prospects”) in an integrated and competitive work environment, according to the announcement.

Renovations are expected to begin in September 2020, with an opening near the end of 2021.

“Another theater brings more awareness of, and appreciation for, our important mission,” said Valerie Jensen, Prospector Theater founder, visionary, and executive director. “Since opening, thousands of people have reached out to us, asking us to build another theater. We’re so excited to share our sparkle with the town of Wilton and the joys of meaningful employment with a new generation of Prospects!”

Celebrating its fifth anniversary in Ridgefield, The Prospector is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. During its five years of operation, it has employed more than 250 Prospects, logging more than 600,000 hours of employment.

“With our strong focus on environmental, social and governance issues, and diversity and inclusion in particular, Kimco applauds the Prospector Theater’s inspiring and impactful mission,” said Joshua Weinkranz, president of Kimco Realty’s Northern Region. “We’re not only committed to the success of the center, but the entire Wilton community. Prospector Theater is a welcome addition to the neighborhood that will entertain, employ, and hopefully serve as a local favorite for years to come.”

The announcement about opening a second Prospector Theater in Wilton follows comments Jensen made on Facebook last November strongly hinting about it. A spokesman from Bow Tie Cinemas denied the rumor at that time.