Bellefonte residents are divided.
Both sides passionately believe that their plan is best for Bellefonte. Neither side is perfect and neither side has a crystal ball.
As long as the Garman Theatre is still standing, I have hope.
I actually dream about the bricks, the dome and even the mold.
Last night I dreamed that we shook hands in a compromise, agreeing to save the theater and build affordable housing.
On Monday, Bellefonte has what might be our final opportunity to come together. Bellefonte Borough Council will face a momentous decision: whether to allow the demolition of the Garman or to preserve this historic community asset.
I hope council members will be guided by the historic preservation statement on Bellefonte’s own website: “Preservation of historic structures and districts in Bellefonte has been seen for nearly three decades as the key to future economic viability. There is no other town with Bellefonte’s unique history and collection of historically significant buildings. The heritage expressed in wood, iron and stone is a resource that no other Centre County municipality has. Historic preservation is about using the past to teach and guide the future. It is about saving and reusing buildings for present-day activities.”
Let’s find a way to restore the Garman and build housing. Let’s honor our heritage and refuse demolition.
In doing so, we can save more than a theater. We can save our sense of community and our relationships with one another; we can save our town.
Mary Vollero, Bellefonte