12/07/05 — Fund set up for donations to Paramount

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Fund set up for donations to Paramount

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 7, 2005 1:48 PM

It has been nearly 10 months since the Paramount Theater burned down, and officials say now is the time to begin raising money for its reconstruction.

Tuesday, the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation introduced a way to do just that, by establishing an account into which residents and businesses can donate to offset the costs for reconstruction.

DGDC promotions coordinator Sherry Archibald said the idea to create the account was a result of community inquiries.

"There have been a lot of calls from people who have an interest in donating," she said.

Mrs. Archibald added proceeds from upcoming events, including the Holiday Historic Homes Tour, will benefit reconstruction of the Paramount. The new fund will allow the city to earmark money raised from the tour and other events for use with the Paramount project.

Those attending these events might also want to make additional donations, she said.

"With the homes tour coming up, we wanted to have an account set up so that people could go ahead and donate," she said.

In March, the City Council established a committee to oversee the reconstruction project. Councilman Chuck Allen was named chairman.

Other committee members include councilmen Don Chatman and Jimmy Bryan, City Manager Joe Huffman, Recreation and Parks Director Neil Bartlett, Brenda Baldwin from Stage Struck, DGDC executive director Julie Thompson and community members Carroll Overton and Henry Weil.

Since March, the committee has 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.

Huffman said he expects an additional fundraising effort from the city once a committee is established. The new committee will focus solely on the fundraising aspect of the project.

"I think once we're a little further along, you'll begin to see a more focused fundraising effort from the city," Huffman said.

Committee members are also 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.

Mrs. Thompson said earlier this year that the theater is listed as historic property with the Preservation Office. Additionally, an application has been filed with that office for a state and federal tax credit worth 40 percent of the total project cost, which officials say could reach $12 million.

To-date, no fundraising committee has been established by the city. However, Mrs. Archibald said the DGDC expects the creation of this group early next year.

In the meantime, tax-deductible donations can be mailed to the DGDC office, P.O. Box 202, Goldsboro, NC, 27533. Checks should be made out to "Paramount."