Paramount Theatre unveils restoration plans - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Paramount Theatre unveils restoration plans

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- More than two years after 2008's devastating floods, the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids is getting back on its feet.

''This was actually the largest swimming pool in the Midwest for about a week because the water went all the way up to the first balcony,'' said Jim Hoffman chairman with the Paramount Renovation Committee.

Hundreds of people from Cedar Rapids turned out Thursday to get their first glimpse of artist renderings of the restored theatre.

The $33 million project will restore the historic building while bringing it up to 21st century standards.

It will feature more comfortable seating, better acoustics, and an expanded stage house, all while meeting mitigation strategies against future flooding.

And for those worried about preserving the Paramount's history, there will be plenty reminders of the old.

''It looks like they're going historic which is fantastic, that's what it has to be and the improvements they're going to be making to the backstage area and closing the alley I think are wonderful,'' said Marilyn Lodge who lives in Cedar Rapids.

''I've had any a number of people come up to me and say I had my first date, I had my first kiss, I've had my first anniversary in this theater, so this means a lot to the community, it means a lot to the people who live here,'' Hoffman said.

Construction is not expected to be completed until the fall of 2012, but having this historic structure back marks progress for a downtown looking to rebound from the greatest natural disaster in its history.

''To bring restaurants back, people back down, businesses opening back up again.  It should be a neat experience for everybody,'' Lodge said.

Online Reporter: Jason Epner 


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