Robbins Foundation Buys Parcel to Help Theater
The nonprofit foundation restoring the old Village Theater in the heart of Robbins has purchased a building next door, clearing the way for project completion.
“Of course, we’ll need money to implement the plan,” said Jean McSwain, secretary of the Robbins Village Theater Foundation.
Thanks to a $27,000 loan from McSwain, the foundation was able to purchase the 1,200-square-foot, two-story building on Salisbury Street for $45,000 in a deal that closed Aug. 13.
“I didn’t do it for recognition. I did it to help the theater,” she said. “I just feel very deeply that this is the thing that Robbins needs, and everybody needs to do whatever they can to get it done.”
Punching through the wall separating the former barbershop from the theater would make it possible to add restrooms, exits and other necessities required to reopen the theater for audiences.
The foundation bought the theater with a targeted grant and private donations. It has cleared out the interior, and removed partitions blocking the balcony and the auditorium section beneath it.
McSwain said part of the loan will be used to pay Famiano Design Group, of Winston-Salem, to finish the renovation plan.
“Hopefully, we can get that plan by the end of November,” she said. “Then we can tell people how much we need. If people get behind it and support it, we can raise the money in short order.”
DeEtta Famiano, owner of Famiano Design Group, said her firm will have to “hustle” to meet the deadline.
“But we might be able to come up with it by then,” Famiano said. “We’ve been off the project sitting back and waiting. Now that they’re ready, we’re ready.”
Famiano said she will need to tour the new space before determining the final price tag.
“I’ll likely go to Robbins this week and get a good look at the adjoining building,” she said. “When we left off with Robbins, we didn’t have enough room and it now appears that we do. I’m glad to see it come to fruition.”
McSwain said the foundation is currently selling raffle tickets for $1 apiece for three prizes that will be given away Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at the theater.
“We’ve got a swing set, a ‘Wizard of Oz’ quilt and a Walmart gift card,” she said. “This is a community project. It’s not my project.”
The Village Theater was built in 1946. At that time, it was the third theater in Robbins and the largest by far.
A recent study cited by the Arts Council of Moore County shows the economic impact of the arts to be more than significant. Shows are a huge draw. The biggest tourist attraction in neighboring Lee County is the Temple Theatre.
The Village Theater, once restored, could accommodate an audience twice the size of that of either the Temple or Sunrise Theater in downtown Southern Pines.
“I’m anxious to see Robbins achieve what it can be,” McSwain said. “It used to be a textile town, but it has a new identity and wonderful people. We’re going to accomplish this by all working together.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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