Patching Up The Paramount

The torrents have long subsided from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where a June 2008 flood covered more than nine square miles of the city after the Cedar River crested, but it is only now that repair work is set to begin on a historic local venue.

The 80-year-old Paramount Theatre was severely damaged when the force of the waters cracked the exterior glass and doors, flowing into the venue and rising as high as the marquee signage outside.

Following the flooding, the interior of the 1,901-capacity venue was covered in mud and seats and several walls were removed. During the time since, the room has become a Petri dish for mold.

But the Paramount was recently put on an “immediate projects” list by city councilors, and is set to receive more than $22 million in relief funds from FEMA, as well as millions more from the state.

FEMA recently inspected the venue and a team of historical architects are expected to work on repairs to bring the Paramount back to its previous glory after receiving a $7.8 million renovation in 2003.

A concrete timeline has yet to be set, but an aggressive repair schedule could see the venue reopening in fall 2011.