Struggle To Rebuild Goldsboro Landmark Continues
Posted March 30, 2006 7:25 a.m. EST
GOLDSBORO, N.C. — Preserve the past or move on. That is the dilemma facing the city of Goldsboro. At the center of the debate is a 124-year old theatre that could soon be a pile of rubble.
Built in 1882, the Paramount Theatre used to be symbol of what was right with Goldsboro. Then came the night of February 19, 2004. The theatre went from being a source of pride to a source of heartache.
"I saw the people as they watched it burn and they were all moved by it and wanted some sort of rebuild," said Goldsboro City Manager Joe Huffman.
Nearly two years later, city leaders are struggling to find the money to rebuild the theatre.
"To say that we don't have the money is accurate, to say that we aren't trying to find it is not," said Huffman. "We are trying to find it."
Despite reports that the city is giving up on the project, Huffman said it's really a matter of other pressing priorities, including building a new community center and finishing the renovation of City Hall.
"With a price tag of nearly $10-$12 million, we have a lot of ground to make up," said Huffman.
But the issue goes far beyond the life or death of the theatre; it's also about the future of downtown Goldsboro. Some say if you rebuild the theatre, then you rebuild the city. Still others say it is time to let go of the past, nostalgic as it may be.
"If you're going to rebuild it, build it somewhere else; otherwise, it's a waste of money," said Danny Muzingo, owner of Pastime Bar and Pool Hall." You've got to go with the future, and there's no future in that building."
City leaders also say just keeping what remains of the Paramount may be a challenge. The city is debating whether the $50,000 price tag to re-enforce the façade is worth it.