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Group breaks ground for Gibson theater

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.

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