Published On: Mon, Aug 15th, 2011

Separating myths from facts – a timeline Part 2

Of ghosts and gurus:

Is the Rogers Theater haunted? You see, The Rogers wasn’t haunted by anything or anyone from the past, but from the powers that were to be, in the future! No, the past was very much alive, in spite of a war that was being fought in the worst of times. Yet, in the past few years, the ghosts that were manifested from a different administration, and some new gurus claiming to be from the future, have been made into the chosen ones by the very leaders who are supposed to serve at the will of the people. They were self-appointed keepers of our heritage. Some would argue that the heritage has been abducted and being held for a ransom. This is a new day and new rules apply.

Several years ago, the Rogers family sold the old theater to the Uptown Shelby Association, who later, gave it to Destination Cleveland County to be used as the Don Gibson Theatre venue. But, there was a “falling away” and Destination Cleveland County announced that the facilities weren’t suitable for what they needed. So, once again, the old Rogers Theater sat, unused. Later, another offer comes along from a man that wants to invest in the building and restore it, and bring it back to life for the benefit of the community. However, it seems that there has been many stumbling blocks that keep the place from opening at all. To my knowledge, as of this writing, there has been no monetary help offered by the city, or any tourism taxes, etc. Surely, this city is big enough for one more, isn’t it? This should confirm that, no, The Rogers is not haunted by ghosts or goblins, but by spiteful and spoiled spirits, who can be seen and heard, but are willfully ignored, and backed by the powers that be.

The growth plan:

In 2006, the city paid a consulting firm $87,500 to come up with a plan as to what the vision should be for the next 15-20 years into the future. It was called The Center City Master Plan.
Part of this plan included :

Support a major fund-raising campaign to convert the Rogers Theater block into a restored, modern performing-arts center, community meeting center and/or civic space. This should be a focal point of uptown Shelby.

Well, then why does the city seem to be unwilling to help the Rogers now, as it has new ownership, and the new owner is investing his own money and time in the restoration? While the city couldn’t do enough for Destination Cleveland County, a previous owner, yet now, the city is strangely silent to the needs of this same theater. So, how about that plan now?

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Chinese proverbs and made in the shade:

When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago.
When is the second-best time to plant a tree? Today.
This is a Chinese proverb that Brownie Plaster, of the county’s historic preservation commission, told a group of event planners, hotel managers, and museum and art council staff members at a travel council meeting Tuesday.
Just think, she told the group gathered at Harvest Works for a lunch meeting, Twenty years from now, you’ll be sitting under that shade. [Megan Ward-The Shelby Star]

Again, two things stand out in my mind’s eye. First, no mention now of Jim Allen, who birthed this whole idea back in 2003. Secondly, they still continue to talk about the restoration of the Rogers Theater, yet, since it’s not in this group’s interests now, it doesn’t seem to be in the interest of our city leaders either.

The face that is no more:

In a burst of energy and big dreams, the uptown area in the city would take on a new face. The whole uptown block and beyond would come to define this new and revitalized Center City area. We had steering committees, Destination Cleveland County, The Earl Scruggs Southern Music Heritage Museum, and the Don Gibson Theater at The Rogers. Everything was looking up. Gifts were given for this project at The Rogers, people were supportive, anxious, and ready to pitch in. However, those dreams would change, or as they said, they were having to rethink their dreams. Again, more proof that once a certain group of people determined that the old Rogers Theater was of no use to them, it also appeared that the city leaders didn’t think it was worth putting any more effort into it either. Not even the people who were bestowing gifts on the Rogers project were interested in the restoration, once it changed hands once again. Why? There seems to be a distinct pattern here.

The masters to discuss the master plan:

Officials from the city, county. the Uptown Shelby Association and Destination Cleveland County met in early 2007 to discuss ways in which they could implement this master plan that was presented in early January. As I stated earlier, hopes were high, visions and dreams were big, pictures were being painted by the minds behind these plans.

Now, we’re into the end of May 2007 and learn that The Rogers Theater just won’t work for Destination Cleveland County, so they will have to find another home for the Don Gibson Theatre. There have been several reasons as to why this happened, and I suppose the truth is somewhere in between.

So, now it’s back to the drawing board and rethinks the dream. Walking away is always affordable, especially if something has been given to you, right?
And let’s not forget the equestrian center, and the condos, and the offices and shops. Another master plan went awry.

Coming up in Part 3:

The dream continues and walk-around money.

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