04/17/06 — Consolidate? Meeting multiple needs in one place

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Consolidate? Meeting multiple needs in one place

Goldsboro lost its fine old Community Building to fire, and there was an immediate determination to rebuild it. Then, before any positive steps could be taken, fire struck and destroyed the Paramount Theater, which had been serving our community’s theatrical needs for several years.

Both are downtown.

And in the background, there has been a longtime yearning for a civic center capable of accommodating large conventions and other activities.

All of a sudden, we have found ourselves surrounded by great needs, all of which carry awesome price tags.

But before we mount our horses and head off in three different directions, perhaps we need to seriously consider a single facility or complex that would meet all those needs.

Downtown? Certainly that would be desirable. And there appear to be plenty of spaces either unused or underused, including where the rubble of the Paramount now lies.

Such a facility would be a bonanza not simply for the preservation of downtown, but presenting an entire new vista of vitality for Goldsboro and all of Wayne County.

But this should not be the only location consideration. Planning for such a combination facility first should consider the overall best interests of a civic-community center-theater itself.

Access, cost, visibility, perception and public support would be important factors.

It undoubtedly would cost far more than the $12 million mentioned to replace the Paramount. (And the word is “replace,” not rebuild.)

But there is a real possibility that a civic center, modern theater for the performing arts and community building combination on one site might cost far less than scattering all three on various locations.

Those who earnestly champion meeting each of the multiple needs could provide a tremendous force supporting a combined facility.

This is not a suggestion that we “drop back and punt,” rather that we go into a big huddle and consider how we might be able to meet all three needs with a single grand facility.

Published in Editorials on April 17, 2006 11:13 AM