Community Center dedicated

  • Thursday, May 8, 2014

Jerry Oakley and Ann Chandler congratulate each other after successfully cutting the ribbon at the new Murrells Inlet Community Center.

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It was difficult to tell who was more excited Thursday afternoon – Georgetown County officials, Murrells Inlet residents or the Murrells Inlet Community Theater group – as they came together at the ribbon-cutting for the Murrells Inlet Community Center.

Master of ceremonies Jerry Oakley praised the community effort that made the building a reality while paying tribute to the facility that was razed to make way for the 7,700-square-foot building that will house the theater group and other community activities, as well as being available for rental for private events.

“It really was a community effort,” Oakley said, recalling that state Sen. Ray Cleary drove down from Columbia with a $250,000 check in hand.

The Rev. Maurice Nason praised the center during his dedication as a “showcase for the arts” and “a place of gathering,” a concept echoed by the nearly 60 people who poured into the $1.2 million building for a first look.

For Mike Bivona, the building will bring some changes for the theater group, which plans to stage its first performance in the new building in October. Scheduled is “The Last Romance,” by Joe DiPietro. The organization has been staging its performances throughout the area while it’s new home was being constructed.

“It will be different,” Bivona said, looking over the stage. His group plans to bring in new theater lighting, but he said he expects there might have to be some changes in their set design. “But,” he said, “it will be nice to have a home again.”

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