Cedar Rapids cuts ribbon on renovated Paramount Theatre - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids cuts ribbon on renovated Paramount Theatre

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

It's a project that's taken center stage in Cedar Rapids.

Nearly four and a half years after floodwaters ripped through downtown, the curtains are finally going up at the Paramount Theatre.

Darcy Caraway was part of the group managing the theater when disaster struck in June of 2008.

The most devastating image I remember was seeing the entire wall or front doors caved in.  It was absolutely horrible," Caraway said.

These unthinkable images are now things of the past.

Friday city leaders celebrated the completion of nearly $35 million in renovations to the historic theater- all which are being funded by state and federal dollars.

The reopening marks a milestone as downtown works its way back.

"Maybe people that don't always work downtown, they're going to come downtown and see a lot of great progress," said Cedar Rapids mayor Ron Corbett.

The theater was constructed to resemble the original built in 1928, but there's plenty of new. Expanded lounges and seating, better acoustics and lighting, and a larger stage and orchestra pit are among the improvements.

"We've taken a historic building and maintained all the historical value and significance and we've modernized it," Corbett said.

Among the hundreds who lined the atrium to get a glimpse of the Paramount, the Prescotts of Fairfax, who say it's good to have the theater back.

"It's really sharp.  Looks real nice," said Tom Prescott.

The stage is finally set to welcome back a piece of Cedar Rapids history that had been missing for far too long.

"It's a major achievement for us to have it.  It's something we need to hold on to," Caraway said. 

It will be quite a show for the opening act November Third when Harry Connick Jr. takes center stage.  Tickets are sold out.

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