Robbins Wants Your Support
The mayor of Robbins is looking for a little attention to be paid by The Readers Digest.
The magazine is working on finding the 100 best places in America for an April issue, and Theron Bell thinks her town is one of them.
The magazine will be giving towns across the country a chance to win some of a $5 million purse in money and promotional support. The idea, she says, is promoting "tourism, civic works, job growth, and economic development."
Bell and others in town are voting "early and often" in an online scheme of the magazine's devising by logging onto a Readers Digest website for the competition and entering the town's zip code (27325) at least 10 times a day. She hopes the rest of the county will pitch in.
Residents can go to http://www.wehearyouamerica.readersdigest.com and then type the code 27325 for Robbins beside the "CHEER" blue rectangle, Bell says. You must register and then cheer for Robbins.
"A pop-up will show up after the first vote," she says. "Close out the pop-up and continue to vote nine more times. You are allowed to vote 10 times a day. Please vote through Feb. 7, 2011."
The 10-a-day limit is not per person. It's per e-mail address and log on. Bell, former mayor Laura Ann Brady, Brady's daughter and other family, friends and other are collecting and voting using (by permission) e-mails of friends as well.
"Remember to log off and then log on again before you vote," she said Thursday night as members of the Robbins Village Theatre Foundation board talked about how this could help the town and the theater restoration effort.
Restoring the old theater as a performance site and tourist attraction is one key on a growing ring of local efforts to improve the downtown that was once the thriving center of the upper section of Moore County.
"We almost lost Robbins as a town several years ago," Bell said in a letter to Readers Digest. "We now wish to reopen the Village Theatre, which brings back fond childhood memories to those who grew up here."
A recent count of bolt points for theater seating units in balcony and orchestra floors indicated a former capacity of more than 800 seats. If completely brought back, that would make the Village Theatre larger than Temple and Sunrise combined.
"Robbins not only changed economically, but culturally," Bell said. "It is our hope that because of our diverse population which mostly tends to live in isolated groups that the Village Theatre will bring us all together."
The Village Theatre Foundation is working on an architectural plan for the building that will lay out physical goals for the structure in enough detail for potential donors. Bryan Mathis and Peggy Taphorn, of Sanford's Temple Theatre, paid a quick visit earlier in the week.
Like all the other theater professionals who've looked the village over, she urged extending the proscenium and the apron (the part of a stage that sticks out toward the audience) and reminded the board that "begging never ends."
A theater needs warehouse and construction space, but there are many other available spaces in Robbins.
"Aim past your mark," Taphorn told them. "Get others to buy into the vision. Grow your next board of directors so that the theater will continue beyond yourselves."
Pat Wallace, business manager of the Sunrise Theater, has joined the foundation board. A newly formed finance committee has held its first two meetings.
Contact John Chappell at email@example.com.
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