Work crews erect Paramount frame
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on May 1, 2007 1:51 PM
Foundation work at the Paramount Theater site has been completed and crews from T.A. Loving Co. have begun erecting the building's steel framework, officials said.
Goldsboro native David Weil, one of the men behind the theater reconstruction effort, said this is good news for those who hope to see performances there as early as late-January 2008.
Officials downtown are among those pleased to hear about progress at the Center Street site.
Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Executive Director Julie Thompson said it is important for residents to see something tangible coming to fruition at the Paramount.
"I think it's a visual statement of the commitment of the community, not just to the Paramount, but to downtown as a whole," she said. "I think it shows promise."
Last fall, Goldsboro City Council members announced they had approved a $5 million reconstruction of the Paramount on its original site along Center Street -- a move Mrs. Thompson said brings an "economic engine" back to the heart of the city.
Since the announcement, four restaurants have committed to moving downtown and two others are speculating about doing the same, she said.
"If you look back on our Main Street statistics, you'll see a major peak in new businesses in 1993 and 1994. That was when the Paramount was restored the first time," Mrs. Thompson said. "It brought an influx of people downtown and it also created a niche for restaurants."
Weil vowed to help reduce the $5 million price tag through a massive fundraising effort -- one that has seen more than $330,000 in donations come in thus far from more than 100 seat sales and nine "major gifts" of $10,000 or more.
The Paramount, built by the Weil family in 1882, was an armory building, synagogue, movie house and theater before it burned down Feb. 19, 2005. Within a week of the fire, council members vowed to "fast track" the project, but limited funds slowed progress on reconstruction efforts.
Mrs. Thompson said, once completed, the theater will likely help continue growth downtown.
"I don't think there is any question that the Paramount will bring more business downtown," she said.
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