Our opinion: Great theater, good plan

Warren has some jewels in its midst, and one of them dominates the intersection of Third Avenue and Liberty Street.

The Struthers Library Theatre ceased being a lending library a long time ago and almost ceased to be a theater before a group of forward-thinking and historically enthusiastic people saved it. Since that time the theatre has become not just a gathering point for local residents in search of entertainment, but a significant tourist draw.

The old girl’s architecture speaks to a time when craftsmanship could be lavished with brick and mortar, and the building’s library room, bathed in old oak, remains as stunning as it was more than 100 years go.

But, the theater is a living thing. Or, we might better express it this way: It is never more beautiful as when it is filled with living things.

Keeping it full has been a periodic challenge over the years, but recent times, despite financial hardships in the community, have seen it filled frequently. In fact, attendance at the theater for its various programs was up 50 percent from the year before.

The library’s board would like to keep the theater vibrant, but how do you do that without spoiling its inherent charm? Well, you do it with planning and a competent architect, who managed to design an elevator to allow those who find the theater’s staircases a challenge a kinder entrance to the stuff inside. No, you won’t be fooled into believing that addition on the east side of the building was original, but its careful design won’t detract from the original. It’s a bit like just a hint of eye makeup on an already pretty girl.

Of course, the plans require a little tinkering with the sidewalk on that side of the building and an incursion into the parking spaces (two, to be exact), but we believe a couple parking spaces are a small price to pay to make the theater more user-friendly in its second century.

We applaud the board’s goals and appreciate their attention to detail. We hope that city government does the same.