KOSCIUSKO, Miss.--The historic Strand Theater in Kosciusko may soon have new glory days, if the community is able to put together the money needed to fully restore the venue. The former movie house is one of the last of the old time town square theaters that was never converted to another use.
"Just listening to people, and their Facebook pages, there's a lot of people with a lot of memories of Gone With the Wind and other movies there," said Kosciusko Mayor Jimmy cockroft. "There's a lot of history with a lot of memories for a lot of folks."
Cockroft pointed out that many other towns of similar size have built movie theaters with multiple screens away from the town squares.
"Still being on the square we, being the City of Kosciusko, thought it was important for us to utilize this and to keep it as a theater type venue or at least as a place where people could meet and have reunions and banquets or things of this nature."
The city purchased the theater in 2007 when the family who owned it built a movie house with three screens away from the square. Since that time, there has been no money for restoration and the building has fallen into disrepair. There were multiple roof leaks that nearly ruined some parts of the inside. A couple of remodels had taken the original look away.
For the last several years, though, interest has come back. Ideas have floated around that would make the Strand a tourist destination, since Kosciusko is located in the geographic center of the state.
A grant from the Miss. Arts Commission has allowed for the first phase of restoration to be completed. That has turned the fascade back into what it may have looked like in the heyday of cinema. The original ticket booth, which had been stored in a local resident's basement, has been restored. The plan now is to renovate the inside and turn it into a concert, theater, and meeting space.
There's just one obstacle-money.
"Everything is money," said Cockroft. "We don't have any funding in place at this time for interior work, but as soon as we complete this other (outside) we hope to get started with some ideas on fundraising."
Cockroft said grants or even private donations would be considered.
He said the some members of the community had created a Facebook page dedicated to the Strand's memory and restoration.