We can only imagine how those who have been intimately involved with the project must feel.
So, we offer our congratulations to Mark Parsons and the Hall-Rialto Preservation Association members, who learned last week that the Beeville Economic Improvement Corporation board had approved a final version of a performance agreement with them and voted to recommend to the City Council that the association be awarded a $150,000 grant from the city’s 4B sales tax funds.
That amount should be enough to allow the theater organization to receive additional grant funds (another $250,000) and finally complete the project.
Parsons said the association has set a completion date of September 2013. Project manager James Lamb has predicted that the scaffolding inside the historic theater can be removed in about a month and a half.
When asked how the theater can benefit the community, Parsons explained that the Rialto can work hand-in-hand with the Joe Barnhart Bee County Library in providing a venue for literary functions, ballet folklorico performances, pageants and other events. Creating a center for the arts would also dovetail nicely with the European entertainment area planned by developer Brenda Hughes along the block across the street.
Parsons added that a business plan shows the facility can generate enough income to keep the lights on and electric bills paid.
That would be wonderful. Many of us old-timers who have fond memories of Saturdays watching movies at the air-conditioned, majestic old place wish to see it restored and realize it could be a jewel, an attraction for the downtown area.
Certainly, we are pleased the BEIC board realized it could afford to finance the theater project and also provide the initial grant to the Bee Development Authority for the construction of the warehouse at the Chase Field, which will provide hundreds of new jobs for the community.
Yet, this project certainly meets the definition of enhancing the quality of life in Beeville. We admire the persistence of the Hall-Rialto group, who recently hosted a successful fundraiser at the Almost Patsy Cline Band event and silent auction. It definitely is a labor of love for them.
Now if we can all hang on for another two years finally to witness the Rialto’s grand reopening.