03/29/06 — Paramount project shelved

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Paramount project shelved

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 29, 2006 1:49 PM

There will no longer be a $12 to $15 million Paramount constructed downtown — at least not for the foreseeable future.

That message was conveyed by Paramount Reconstruction Committee chairman Chuck Allen in a meeting held this morning at City Hall.

“We know that we can’t fund the Paramount,” Allen told committee members. “And we know that the City Council is not going to make this project a priority for at least two or three years. And by then, it may be an entirely different council.”

The news came after a request to re-enforce the Paramount’s facade surfaced — a project that would carry an estimated cost of $50,000 to $75,000.

“The majority of the council has no interest in keeping that wall,” he said. “We don’t know how or when we’re going to do the Paramount. They want the wall down.”

Allen added that putting money into reconstruction efforts would be pointless without a plan to fund the entire project. And that plan just doesn’t exist.

“We can see no building going on in the foreseeable future,” he said. “There’s just no timetable for when we can begin work on this project.”

City Manager Joe Huffman said a plan to fund the project just isn’t there and that the city has turned it’s focus on projects that will serve more of Goldsboro’s residents — a community or recreation center, for one.

“The community center project has taken priority over the Paramount,” Huffman said.

Allen said the city will no longer look into acquisition of property around the Paramount, nor will it spend money to save the facade. Funding is the main issue, but lack of support for the project is also a factor, he said.

“The community doesn’t want it,” he said. “No. 1, we don’t have the money. And No. 2, there’s no big group out there, besides the arts, supporting this thing.”

City officials have discussed rebuilding the structure, built in 1882, since it burned Feb. 19, 2004. Debate over how to rebuild it and how much money to spend has been an issue for months.