Liberty Theatre will now be owned by the city of Columbus

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 10:39 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - With applause, a standing ovation, and a yes vote.

With full support from the Columbus city council, the Liberty Theatre will now be owned by the city. the city plans to raise funds through grants to reopen the doors of the historic liberty theater that once played several African American artists like Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington and Columbus’ mother of blues Ma Rainey. “I think there is enough grant money out there, I think it’s enough money out there whether it’s in Washington or Atlanta to raise to make this happen,” says city council member says Glen Davis.

Once a thriving theatre for the African-American community, where the cost to get into the theatre was something rather unique, and a childhood memory for city manager Isaiah Hugley. “I want you to know I was old enough to go to the liberty theatre to the movie, with the R.C cola drink tops,” says Hugley. Now council members and the theatre’s board of directors say it’s time for the city to benefit from a revitalization of the theatre. “What today means is that Columbus’ community was just displayed in the chambers of the city council.

So the government has shown us that the community starts with them,” says President of the Liberty Theatre Delois Dee Carr. Deputy City Manager Pam Hodge presented the council with ways the theatre can get funding as well as the renovations that need to happen. “So, the current challenges? No renovations have been done over the past 25 years. There is substantial damage, no lighting in our sound system, so there are a lot of issues,” says Hodge. Issues they hope can now be resolved to reopen the historic theatre. “History was made today because it culminated from the past to the future, and so this means limitless opportunities for the liberty theatre,” says another board member.

No word on how soon the ownership will transfer, but the plan is to apply for a grant as soon as December 20.