SPG Buys Lot Next to Sunrise
Kermit the Frog sings a song that says "it's not easy being green."
Board members of the Sunrise Preservation Group (SPG) would probably concur with that assessment, but happily, after many months of negotiation, the SPG announced Wednesday that the board has finalized the purchase of the undeveloped property directly adjacent to the Sunrise Theater at 250 NW Broad St. in downtown Southern Pines.
"We are calling the space Sunrise Preservation Green," said David Young, SPG board president. "We have no immediate plans for its use, other than continuing to host First Fridays, SpringFest and other activities that will benefit the community.
"The board considers the purchase of the green space next to the theater as a necessary move to accommodate the long-range growth of the theater and the organization. Given the popularity of the theater, we will, no doubt, have to expand our operations, and we will eventually develop a long-range plan for the use of the property. In the meantime, we are seeking benefactors and foundations who will assist us in retiring the mortgage."
Beth Carpenter, treasurer for the SPG board, signed the purchase agreement, along with Young. Financial details of the purchase have not yet been released.
Young said SPG's intent is to keep that space to be used as an outdoor venue.
"We eventually want to build a band shell in the lower corner that could also hold a small stage," he said. "Then we could host a small troupe of players for outdoor productions."
The building that houses the Sunrise Theater was erected in 1898 as a hardware store. In the 1940s, the structure was converted for use as a movie theater that remained a staple of downtown Southern Pines for more than 40 years.
When the movie house closed its doors in the early 1980s, the Arts Council of Moore County (ACMC) and the Sandhills Little Theater rallied enough community support to restore the building and give it a third life as the Performing Arts Center, owned and operated by ACMC.
In 1998, ACMC transferred the theater's operation to the Sunrise Preservation Group (SPG), which was made up of a group of residents concerned with keeping the theater alive for the community. SPG formed a nonprofit organization and through dedicated effort, compromise and goodwill, the historical theater building has a new lease on life. ACMC transferred ownership of the theater building to the SPG in 2005.
The SunFlix film series and SunEvents concert series have made a significant contribution to the revitalization of downtown Southern Pines.
The theater is also used for SunFeatures, private events, plays and musicals from Moore OnStage and other theater companies, events from the Arts Council of Moore County (ACMC), fundraisers for local, national and international causes, and school events.
Contact Faye Dasen at 693-2475 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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