Robbins Takes Steps to Save Theater
At a community meeting last week in Robbins, volunteers came to an enthusiastic consensus to make a change to the STEP plan.
They will ask to use remaining funds in the town's $200,000 grant to acquire the Village Theater as a performance space for the northern Moore County area.
"We have a long way to go, but we have come a long way, too," said Mayor Theron Bell. "We have been very frugal, very careful with money they were so kind to give us."
The state Rural Center chose Robbins as one of its first experimental sites for North Carolina Small Town Economic Prosperity (NCSTEP) - a program that sent coaches to work with volunteers in hopes of finding new ways that improve local economies of hard-hit towns.
When the Rural Center approved that original Robbins plan, the town qualified for the grant.
David Cheek owns the old Village Theater, where he operates his gun and antique business. He's given the town an option to acquire the property for $85,000. That seemed like a great idea to those at the STEP meeting.
The theater has room for 800 to 1,000 seats, sloping floors downstairs and in its balcony, and the stage is still there. If Robbins - or a new nonprofit being organized for the purpose - could get it, the Village Theater, like the Sunrise in Southern Pines, could be saved for future generations.
"The people of Robbins have done wonders," Bell said. "The Main Street program, the clock project; I have been talking to Art Jackson at the Rural Center and he says STEP plans are ever changing. Why not try this? That money goes back to Raleigh if not used by the end of September."
There was general agreement that saving the Village Theater would be good for Robbins, indeed for the entire county, as it would offer a second venue at the upper end for the kinds of things available now in the Sandhills.
Contact John Chappell by e-mail at email@example.com.-
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