Long forgotten Montgomery auditorium to see new life

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Montgomery, AL (WSFA) - A major renovation project is in the works at Montgomery City Hall.  Included in those changes, the old Municipal Auditorium will soon become the new City Council Chambers.

Tim Canti, the man in charge of the renovation project for the city, gave members of the media a tour of the historic facility Thursday starting on the balcony of the auditorium.

Even in the dark, you could still see the intricate details and splendor of the facility.

"There's some extensive work that will have to be done on the plaster," Canti said.

The auditorium played host to several historic events in Montgomery, including Hank Williams' funeral, but as a whole, it hasn't been used in more than 30 years.

And now, city leaders are working to bring it back to life.

"It's something we've been working for a month or so," Mayor Todd Strange said.

It's part of his mayor's plan to make it the new home of the City Council Chambers.

Canti said, "The complexity of this is that we have functioning departments in City Hall, so we're having to plan thoroughly and possibly use One Court Square."

The biggest part of the project will be removing and demolishing all of the office space on the auditorium floor. They will clean the balcony, but it will be restored at a later time.

The stage area is a relic in itself, still housing original features like the old lighting switches.

The first part of work in the space has already begun as workers clear out stacks of boxes and paperwork.

"The goal here is to get this cleaned out and back to it's original state.  And basically to be closed off and not be used as storage anymore.  It will allow the city to restore it in the future if they have the opportunity to do so," Canti added.

The city doesn't have the funds for a complete restoration.  For now, they'll just take care of the basics to make it a usable space.

It's a piece of our past that is now becoming an integral part of the city's future.

City leaders hope to release the plans for bid in April with constriction beginning in the Fall.

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