Happy Halloween readers!
It’s a day of “Trick or Treating” or “Trunk or Treating” depending on where you live. In my case, a safe, historic town with lots of door-to-door trick or treaters.
However, it may also be a sad day – IF the Garman Opera House is allowed to be demolished by the Bellefonte Borough Council when it votes on the recommendation to raze this historic theater Monday night, November 4. Despite the fact that the plan to demolish the Garman is on appeal in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.
So a friend of mine (who is also a member of the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association) has created a Halloween lawn Ode entitled “Let Us Eat Your Town” on his front lawn to the Garman Opera House (1890-?) and to the destruction of Historic Victorian Bellefonte – our town:
What will be lost? Here’s the streetscape as it looks today. On the left is the Centre County Courthouse. The Garman Opera House is the building on the right with the black bonnets over the first-floor windows:
And here’s what it will look like once the building is razed, courtesy of the artistic Photoshop skills of my friend Mary Vollero – a locally well-known artist and PSU faculty member.
Note, the developer, who purchased the building through a local court order, has given no guarantee that he will build ANYTHING in the next two years to replace the Garman. His only guarantee is to raze the building and plant grass. If he doesn’t restore/rebuild, he has agreed to give town council the right of first refusal to buy the property back at his cost for purchasing and razing the building.
The Bellefonte Borough Council is meeting on Monday, November 4, 2013 at 7:30 pm. They will be voting on the recommendation to raze the Garman.
Despite opposition by the community (at least 700 residents of the town and more than 1700 signers on BHCA’s Save the Garman petition). Despite the fact that the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association has a feasible plan (and initial funds) to save and restore this structurally-sound historic theatre as a regional community arts center. And despite the fact that the decision to destroy this historic building was done through the misuse of Pennsylvania’s Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act; that decision is now on appeal in Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court.
For more info, you can check out the complete Save the Garman Opera House website as well as my two earlier blogs (here and here) on this gem of history and the arts here in rural central Pennsylvania.
Happy Halloween All!
It might be the last one for the Garman Opera House UNLESS we can change the minds of the Bellefonte Borough Council. Come to Bellefonte’s council meeting on Monday evening, November 4 @ 7:30 pm to stand up for and speak out against the demolition/razing of the historic Garman Theater. Meeting will be held at Borough Council Chambers, Bellefonte Municipal Building, 236 West Lamb Street, Bellefonte, PA 16823. If you can’t come, you can contact members of council through this link: http://bellefonte.net/government/directory/borough-contacts/
Thank you and