08/11/06 — Community building in works, too

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Community building in works, too

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on August 11, 2006 1:52 PM

A lower price tag for Paramount Theater reconstruction might lead to a community building, too, Goldsboro officials said Wednesday.

With the majority of Goldsboro City Council members now backing David Weil's $5 million Paramount plan, City Manager Joe Huffman said he and his staff have been charged by the group with finding funding for the project -- and a community building.

"I think the city is interested in doing both of those projects," he said.

Huffman added while there is no firm intention to construct the buildings simultaneously, it is a possibility -- one that depends on the information he and staff gather for the funding plan.

"My objective right now is figuring out how to meet city services without raising taxes and funding the Paramount and community building," he said.

It's an objective he hopes to meet soon, potentially by the Aug. 21 City Council meeting.

Huffman added he feels if city staff can "develop a plan that allows us to move forward with both projects over time, more people will support it."

Earlier this week, Weil unveiled a plan to reconstruct the Paramount on Center Street, and called upon council members to consider putting $4 million into the project. The rest of the costs would be covered by the roughly $1 million in insurance from the Feb. 19, 2005, fire and through fundraising efforts, he said.

Huffman said he feels confident funding for the theater can be arranged.

"I think based on what I know now, I think the Paramount is something we can accomplish," he said.

But adding another multi-million dollar project will take some good planning, he added. Since first hearing the idea after Monday's meeting, Huffman said he has met with members of the Recreation and Parks and Finance departments and asked that they look into possible funding sources and potential operating costs for both facilities.

"My job as manager, I want to make absolutely sure that I give council enough information to make an informed decision," he said.

A decision on a pair of projects Huffman thinks just might work.

"Anything is doable," he said. "I'm just trying to put together a plan that the majority of people can support."