Will The Ga-Ana Theatre Close For Good?

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By Amanda Wade

In Butler County, one local theatre is closing its doors until further notice, but could it be closed for good?

The Georgiana Theatre is now closed for the second time in its 75 year history and community members say they are hoping the stage that once graced some of country music's greatest legends has not seen its last performance.

Leona Simmons has lived in Georgiana for most of her life, "Back in my day, it was the place that everybody went on Saturday night."

For now, the fate of the Georgiana Theatre is up in the air. The theatre manager says the family that owns the building decided to shut it down last week due to family health problems.

In its early years, Hank Williams, Sr. performed at the theatre with his band, the Drifting Cowboys. It is also a main attraction each year for the Hank Williams Festival. Georgiana's mayor, Jerome Antone, says the theatre is a historical landmark, and the city is considering purchasing it to keep it open, "On Saturday, the city council is going to go and look at the facility and see what they think about the facility. And if they think it's a good idea for the city to purchase the facility, we will call an emergency meeting, and we will purchase that facility."

Antone says the building is appraised at nearly $140,000. Although a specific price has not been announced, he believes the city would have enough in the general fund to buy it.

He says if city council votes to purchase the theatre, he would like to see it used as part of Georgiana's revitalization, "To function something like the Ritz theatre up in Greenville, you know, have plays and things of that nature. And also we'd have conventions."

This is the second time the theatre has closed. There was talk of demolishing it in 1996, but the Sims family bought it and reopened the theatre in 1999.

"A Taste of Country" will still air every Saturday morning at 5:30am on CBS 8 even while the theatre is closed.