12/15/05 — The Paramount: There is responsible way to rebuild landmark

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The Paramount: There is responsible way to rebuild landmark

There is going to be a lot of talk about the Paramount Theater reconstruction during the next few months. As the planning continues, more and more people are going to start asking about the logistics — how much, how big and how soon.

And there is reason to make sure that this project stays within reasonable boundaries, and that it is done with long-term gains and community needs in mind.

If there are more pressing priorities, that is a factor to consider as the planning process moves forward.

The newly constructed Paramount should be a showcase for downtown Goldsboro that will become a new, treasured landmark that has practical uses for the community it serves.

That is the responsible way to rebuild.

But as we continue to look at the practical side of the issue, we should take the time to remember the heart, too.

This is a landmark in this community.

There are thousands of people here who have memories of trips to downtown Goldsboro with their parents or grandparents. They remember the shows, the magic and the beautiful place that was the pride of the city.

And we can have that again, as long as it is part of a plan that incorporates more downtown development and a real emphasis on making the city a place to which people want to come to enjoy their free time and a location where it pays to start a business.

Downtown Goldsboro is better in some ways than those past days, but the allure of the city — or any downtown for that matter — is not what it was.

That is a reality that has to be kept in the back of our minds as we move forward to decide what to do next.

The Paramount is a part of this community’s history that is certainly worth recreating, but as we begin this process, we have to realize that there is not much left to recreate. The facade is all that remains of a once-grand structure.

Perhaps, instead, the community should consider creating a new memory for generations to come. The new Paramount could pay homage to the old building, while offering a lure for young families to come downtown and enjoy what their city has to offer.

And to get that interest, we as a community have to plan for it.

There should be an active debate about the future of Paramount. Hiding from dissent will not stop the critics and it won’t create a positive atmosphere by which we can create a new, stronger downtown.

By listening to everyone’s ideas and reaching a few compromises, Wayne County just might end up with a new gem downtown that meets the needs of today while acknowledging the heritage of yesterday.

Talking about possibilities and entertaining all discussion are the best places to start the process of achieving that goal.

Published in Editorials on December 15, 2005 9:17 AM