05/12/06 — Paramount hope: Donors and supporters restore viability to theater project

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Paramount hope: Donors and supporters restore viability to theater project

A group of anonymous donors and supporters has decided to take on the task of rebuilding the downtown landmark theater — but at a substantially reduced price tag.

They say they already have some money earmarked — and that they intend to continue the fundraising work that has already been begun in the community to resurrect the building.

Their first order of business will be to make sure the theater facade — the only part of the structure that survived the 2005 blaze — is reinforced and preserved. As a result of that action, there is a possibility of receiving some historic preservation grants to add to the Paramount funds.

Then, they will set about coming up with a more modest plan for reconstruction. The new Paramount will not be the glorified structure once called for, but a more reasonable replacement that captures not only the historic value of the theater, but will include a few of the perks the local arts groups were hoping for in a new building.

The group hopes that the price for the theater will come in at right around $6 million — a much more reasonable figure.

But more importantly, rather than a community arguing over what to do downtown — and more finger-pointing and political manuevering — Goldsboro has a direction for its downtown area — and a plan and volunteers determined to get that project done.

And that is good news for anyone who is hoping to see bigger and better things for the city and Wayne County in the near future.

The Paramount project at $12 million was too expensive, especially in light of the other, more critical needs in the city and county. By taking a new tact and really pushing to get a usable structure while maintaining a historic landmark, the Paramount group will allow city and community leaders to consider other projects to benefit the downtown area.

And taxpayers need to be very specific about how they want their money to be used to that end.

So, now that there is a direction, and people who are willing to do the work, it is time to get behind the Paramount effort.

There will be fundraisers and other opportunities for the community to participate in the project, as well as plenty of discussion of options for the “new” Paramount. Don’t miss your chance to participate — and to keep an eye on the improvements being made to your downtown.

Rebuilding the Paramount will not change Goldsboro’s future overnight, but it could be a small investment in more good news to come.

Published in Editorials on May 12, 2006 10:53 AM