03/31/06 — Other options: There might be other choices for performing arts in city

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Other options: There might be other choices for performing arts in city

OK, so the Paramount Theater recontruction plan is not going to happen — at least not now.

The news wasn’t good for the arts community — or for those who loved the theater and made many memories with their families there.

Hopefully, some day, there will be another chance to honor this beautiful landmark, maybe even to find private money to recreate the historic theater or to incorporate some of its beauty into a new center downtown. You never know what can happen when people put their heads together to solve a problem.

But since the idea of recreating the theater has been temporarily shelved until funding sources can be found, this is a great opportunity for members of the arts community and community leaders to sit down and talk about some possible next steps — and to dream a few dreams.

Maybe we cannot have the rebuilt Paramount Theater, but why couldn’t we consider as a community another option for a theater or a performing arts center that would allow Wayne County to expand its cultural offerings and could be a boost to tourism and business throughout the area?

And while we are at it, couldn’t we come up with a few strategies for attracting the funding necessary to begin looking at renovating an existing structure or to totally create a new building that would address multiple needs in the community without shortchanging one group’s goals?

The arts are just as important a part of this community’s future as a renovated downtown or a new recreation center.

Without cultural opportunities, Wayne County is at a distinct disadvantage when companies and others look at the quality of life issues that are so important when they are choosing a place to locate or expand. A performing arts center or other facility — no matter where it is located — would give the county that edge.

The end of the Paramount project is not the end of the possibilities for the arts for this community — and it should not signal to anyone that this is an area that the community does not need or want.

It is time to refocus, regroup and put our heads together again to come up with another option — a more workable solution for a performing arts center.

Who knows. The next idea might be even better and much more easily accomplished.

Published in Editorials on March 31, 2006 11:07 AM