So after a year of skepticism, foot-tapping and generally leaving the issue on the back burner, the Paramount Theater project is dead. Different sources warned of the “conning” ways of Grand Venues, the developer who promised to restore the movie palace to its former glory, and while they didn’t quite, by definition, con the city, they certainly had little credibility. After all, a company should have SOME capital in its bank account, rather than rely entirely on locals to invest the money, shouldn’t they?
If you haven’t seen downtownyoungstown.com’s photos of the place, do so. Between the debris, mold and every other piece of matter cluttering the auditorium, it’s enough to convince even the most optimistic people that the Paramount is a dinosaur and there’s no point in saving it. I knew the interiors were bad beforehand, but I also believed it could’ve been cleaned up. Now, I’m not so sure.
Anyway, our friend Phil Kidd of Defend Youngstown, who is much more “in the know” than I’ll ever be, has announced that the property has “alternate plans” instead of restoration that he “cannot discuss” but thinks “if the plan goes forward, most people will be very pleased”.
Let me begin by saying that if this plan calls for a new government building or municipal courthouse, I will not be very pleased. I’m all for moving the government agencies into downtown (in fact, I’m sure bombing Oak Hill would do the county good in the longrun), but it should be spread out. West Federal shouldn’t from the former shopping center into the government center, so why not spread things out? East downtown, over by the Chevrolet Centre? Plentiful opportunities there.
But I digress. That probably isn’t what Kidd had in mind if everyone will be pleased, but then again you never know. As for speculation on what the plans are, I’d hope it’d involve putting the structure out of its misery, and possibly building on the original plan of a dual level movie theater/stage and bar area building. I’ve longed for the return of both a working movie theater and concert club in downtown, and this plan was intended to be the one-two punch. As I write this, I’m actually more excited than ever about the possibilities, because this could be the opportunity for a new building that ISN’T government-supported. So instead of the visually bland, brick-monsters of structures that are the Voinovich Center and CS, we could see a building whose exteriors will surely entice people to check it out.
If this were to be the case, I’d like to follow the lead of the technology center, but more detailed. The Technology Center plans show it blending in with the rest of the early 20th century downtown architecture. With whatever might go here, I’d hope architects would take a “neo-deco” approach, as I’d like to term it, applying some real geometry to it instead of just building a giant box. It’s completely bland for starters, and it demonstrates laziness and lack of creativity.
However, these plans could entail something entirely different, something far removed from an entertainment facility. Since Mr. Kidd is keeping a tight lip on the details, we’ll have to wait an see…
I went on a photo shoot for the first time since late March last week, and with this new album comes a new host for my photography. Yahoo Photos is being dissolved in September, so everything is being transferred to Flickr. When everything’s back up, take a look! I covered an expansive area, from downtown to Smoky Hollow and into the east and south sides of the city.