04/05/06 — Voices needed: There is still much room for opinions on Paramount project

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Voices needed: There is still much room for opinions on Paramount project

One of the most difficult issues to deal with as an elected official — and in public life — is the ever-changing nature of public opinion. What is on everyone’s mind one month becomes yesterday’s news so quickly. That makes it tough not only to set priorities, but to decide what deserves the most attention and how quickly.

The Paramount Theater could easily become one of those fickle public issues.

Some will see Mayor Al King’s declaration that the Paramount project is not dead as a reason to stand down and to go back to the business of life.

And it is, somewhat. Mayor King is a man of his word, and he seems determined to keep the discussion going.

Others might even think that there never was any danger to the project.

Well, there was. Councilman Chuck Allen did indeed declare that there was no support for the project and moved to put an end to the discussion.

Ignoring the politics of the situation for a moment — and the inappropriateness of the effort to end-run the rest of council and the mayor — the truth is that the decision on the project, as it stands now, was probably a smart one to consider.

At $12 million, the project was too expensive, especially in a community that has already acknowledged it needs a new recreation center and faces school facilities concerns.

There wasn’t funding to do everything, and $12 million just seemed to be too much, even for a landmark as precious as the Paramount.

But Mayor King is right, there are other options — less expensive ones — and other means of funding a new theater. But both require more than just his input or a discussion by members of the City Council.

A concentrated community interest — and a sustained effort to address what is possible and then to devise a plan to make it happen — are necessary if the Paramount is going to remain on the front burner and not be relegated to the also-rans of community issues.

Now is the time to volunteer time and experience to assist with the effort — and to make sure all the council members know more than just a few people want to see the project through. So, don’t wait to get involved. Be part of the effort right now.

And to those council members who had their doubts about the viability of the Paramount project — take some credit. You weren’t wrong, just a bit misguided about what the next step should be.

Now, please get back to work. There is a solution out there — one that is reasonably priced — and one that could create a real future for the city of Goldsboro.

Published in Editorials on April 5, 2006 11:11 AM