09/27/05 — City says Paramount on track

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City says Paramount on track

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 27, 2005 1:54 PM

Paramount Theater project volunteers are still waiting to find out who is going to pay for the millions it is expected to take to rebuild the city's historic theater.

After the Feb. 19 fire that destroyed much of the building, the city began planning for its reconstruction. In March, a nine-member committee was formed by the City Council to oversee the rebuilding of the Paramount. Mayor Al King urged committee members to fast-track the project.

Now, the committee wants to know if the historical impact of the structure is enough to get federal funds to help rebuild it. Members are awaiting word from the North Carolina Historic Preservation Office, which will determine whether there is enough historic integrity left in the theater to warrant federal funding.

Committee member Julie Thompson said the theater is listed as historic property with the Preservation Office. Mrs. Thompson filed an application with that office for a state and federal tax credit worth 40 percent of the total project cost, which is estimated at anywhere between $8 million and $12 million. The original estimate for the reconstruction was $6 million.

Even with the tax credit, there will still be money to raise locally to pay off the total project cost, Mrs. Thompson said.

"I anticipate that there will be a fundraising component, both private and corporate, to cover the cost," she said.

Committee member Neil Bartlett, who also serves as director of Recreation and Parks for the city of Goldsboro, said while there have been some delays, the project is on schedule.

"I think things have moved as quickly as they possibly could have," Bartlett said. "We've experienced some delays, but they weren't created by us."

Over the last few months, the committee hired an architectural firm, Pearce, Brinkley, Seasce and Lee, and held a public forum during which community members could give their input on the theater project.

The increased cost of the project since the initial March estimate is linked to the committee's consideration of the purchase of more land around the building for a larger structure and a bigger parking area, Bartlett said.

"What were looking at is trying to acquire all the property from the theater south to Chestnut Street and possibly property to the southwest also," he said.

No matter what they finally decide, Bartlett said he and other committee members hope the theater will be re-opened in about two years.

"The Paramount is an important piece of the city," Bartlett said. "Almost everyone from Goldsboro has memories there."