06/26/05 — Cost and benefits: Value of Paramount project has many measures

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Cost and benefits: Value of Paramount project has many measures

Those who are suggesting $10 million might be a little much to spend on the reconstruction of the Paramount Theater are not completely wrong. A community that has to raise taxes to meet its bills perhaps should not be thinking about adding another one to the mix.

But the reason the Paramount project should continue with the same fervor that it is currently enjoying is that there are times when you have to step up and do what is best for the community, even if it might cost a little money.

There is nothing wrong with considering a civic center instead of a reconstructed Paramount. There is nothing wrong with suggesting that perhaps the community building and Paramount projects be combined.

And maybe both those issues should be explored a little further before a final decision is made.

But there is also absolutely nothing wrong with considering bringing new life back into downtown Goldsboro and preserving a memory — even if it is only a replica of the original.

Too often we are quick to cast aside the very things that make our communities unique in the name of bigger, better, faster, more tax-efficient.

We try to be too much like the big cities that people are trying to get away from, and in the process, destroy the hometown feel that makes us unique.

A downtown Paramount complex, a new community building and maybe even a streetscape project or two just might help Wayne County reclaim downtown Goldsboro as a viable economic development location.

At the very least, the project will give our children and grandchildren more to look at than the empty storefronts that come when a downtown becomes an afterthought.

Sometimes the best way to make more money is to invest a little. Before we protest the idea of a new Paramount, perhaps we should think about what we want for this community not just tomorrow, but 15 years from tomorrow. What kind of town do we want to leave for our children?

That does not mean that we should hand the county or city a blank check, or that private donations and grants should not pursued to help fund the project.

We should watch the spending and be part of the decision-making process as the Paramount discussions continue.

And if there is a better idea, a more viable alternative or simply a rash of people who simply do not want to build the Paramount, then we can start fresh.

In the meantime, there is nothing wrong with dreaming — or reminiscing.

Published in Editorials on June 26, 2005 12:19 AM