PRINCETON — During the 1960s and 1970s, the downtown was a community’s traditional business and entertainment district. Downtown was the place where locals shopped and socialized, but this aspect of life started changing with the introduction of malls and later the Internet.
Gradually, downtowns across the nation became long rows of empty storefronts and memories. Now storefronts in the cities of Bluefield and Princeton are starting to show new life and historic venues are being restored.
In Princeton, volunteers with the ongoing Princeton Renaissance Project have been working on restoring the historic Lavon Theater, formerly known as the Royal Theater, on Mercer Street in downtown Princeton.
“Over the past few weeks, we’ve had structural engineers there looking at the inner structure and the outer facade,” Greg Puckett of Community Connections, Inc. said. “The architects (Boggess Architects) are looking at it.”
Volunteers are now looking at drafting a timeline that describes the work to do done during the next 12 months, Puckett said. The first phase will be to complete the theater’s design and secure plans detailing the interior work.
Securing more funding will be the project’s second phase, which would include looking to local banks for a loan. Increasing the community outreach for donations so the project would move faster is phase three, Puckett said.
“We hope to unveil in the next few months a marketing strategy for the Renaissance Project,” he stated.
New enterprises continue moving into downtown Princeton. One, a pottery business, is securing a location. More options for dining are coming to Mercer Street, too…