Locals restore Paris' Grand Theater

PARIS, TX -- For years the Grand Theater in Paris has been left to rot with only pigeons occupying the theater's seats.

In 2010, the city initiated the steps to bring the theater back to life, but a year later the roof collapsed during a heavy rain, stalling the restorations process. Thursday the Leadership Lamar County Class presented a check to the city to help fund the theater's restoration.

"I think the cost, the blood, sweat and tears going into this are going to be well worth it when it's all said and done," said city engineer Shawn Napier. "It may take us another five, six or seven years, but it's well worth the effort and the time spent doing it."

The Grand was originally built after the Great Fire of 1916 and was one of the biggest theaters in the area, holding over 800 people.
Napier believes The Grand can once again be one of the main attractions in Paris.

"We have done a lot of revitalization to downtown and we hope this will be the crown jewel of that one day," said Napier.

Architect Paul Denney grew up in Paris and remembers going to the theater when he was a boy.

"I'm just tickled to death that we are able to proceed and fix the storm damage and work towards a fund raising effort," said Denney.

Many groups supporting the theater are hoping to restore the building back to its original state, but the city has yet to determine what the theater will be used for when the restoration is complete.

"I think as far as conference centers, event centers, dine-in movies, I think the opportunities are limitless as far as having a large place to meet," said Napier.

"Most of the towns around have done fabulous performing arts centers and that's ultimately what I would like to see this used for," said Denney.

The city is hoping to have the roof repaired by the end of January.

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