Workforce housing can be built anywhere, but once a historic theater is gone, it is gone forever.
Saving the Garman Theatre’s facade — if financially and structurally feasible and if others help to pay for it — is not enough.
The Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association has a better plan to save the entire building and help revitalize the town.
It is easy to take Bellefonte for granted.
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Years ago, my students reminded me how fortunate we are to live here, when I offered extra credit to my class to see a movie at the Garman. They were as impressed by Bellefonte and the Garman as they were with the movie.
Most students had previously only been to new movie theaters. They described walking into the Garman as a walk back in time, charmed by the theater’s spectacular dome, the red velvet seats and even the freshly popped popcorn.
One student walked out of the theater into a snowstorm. She said it was a magical moment as she watched snow fall on the buildings. She took her family back that weekend to see Bellefonte and the enchanting theater.
I do not want to save just a façade or walk into the theater just one more time. I want to walk into the Garman many more times.
An arts center in a restored Garman is our best option to revitalize our town and ensure that future generations will enjoy a magical theater in a timeless Victorian Bellefonte.
Mary Vollero, Bellefonte