Destination Cleveland County today broke ground for the Don Gibson Theater in the former State Theatre on South Washington Street in Shelby.
The new 440-seat venue, scheduled for completion in August 2009, is named for Shelby native singer/songwriter Don Gibson, who died in 2003.
A Grand Ole Opry star and member of Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame , Gibson wrote such classics as “I Can't Stop Loving You,” “Oh, Lonesome Me,” and “Sweet Dreams.”
The renovated 1939 art deco theater will have state-of-the-art technical equipment and be the site for a regional performing arts center.
Leaders announced the participation of five local banks in the financing of the construction: Alliance Bank and Trust, Fidelity Bank, FifthThird Bank, First National Bank and Mountain First Bank.
The city of Shelby has issued a lease agreement with the nonprofit Destination Cleveland County for the theater and approved a $500,000 challenge grant for the renovation. The N.C. Rural Center approved a $400,000 economic development grant for the project which is part of the local Rhythm and Roots campaign.