The work and activity around the New Roxy and the sense of community interest with regard to all that’s been going with the clean out process the past few years has been truly overwhelming, yet gratifying. Buying the New Roxy and undertaking the project of somehow bringing the building back to useful life was, quite honestly, a completely spontaneous decision without a solid long term plan.
My dreams and visions are many. Ultimately, I would love a full historic restoration including a new roof, a glowing marquee and a beautiful air conditioned space that could accommodate live music, special events, theater and films accompanied with a state of the art sound system. However, my mother always told me I had champagne taste on a beer budget, so the reality of my dream is slow and steady as I explore the options, ride out the economic downturn, buy lottery tickets and continue putting a lot of sweat equity into the small improvements that I can make.
The first thing everyone asks about is the roof, or lack thereof. In 2010 a new roof was built over the stage end of building. Though plans are to continue with more roof over the front lobby area, my intention is to leave the main audience space open air. The positive feedback from visitors appreciating the open air feel has reinforced my decision to leave parts of the venue with a view of the sky.
My short term attainable goals are to get the space ready to be used for money making ventures. On the agenda, of course, is live music, but also to create a viable space for live theater, movie filming, wedding rentals, family reunions, or free outdoor movies…..whatever anyone can imagine. I’m open to whatever allows the space to grow, be vibrant and improve.
Immediate chores to make the above things possible are to re-do the front entrances and install secure doors, improve the lighting, and add additional electrical outlets. Bigger items on the wish list include rebuilding and restoring the marquee, roofing the lobby area and adding bathrooms.
The most important focus for me remains the same as when I bought the New Roxy : keep the building from further deterioration; maintain accessibility for the entire community and be a viable part of the recovery in the New World district and Clarksdale in general.
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