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Porterdale gym ribbon-cutting set for May 8

PORTERDALE — The Porter Memorial Gymnasium left a mark on the city of Porterdale during the 1930s through the 1960s, and now it’s ready for a new life after a blaze that destroyed it in 2005.

Porterdale Main Street Director Teri Haler invites the public to a grand opening event at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8 for the community to see the renovations.

Porterdale Memorial Gymnasium was built as a gift to the city from Oliver and Julia Porter, the owners of Bibb Manufacturing Company. The facility was built with wood floors and wood bleachers that could seat as many as 5,000 people. The structure was vacant and in need of repair when a fire destroyed it in October 2005.

The city decided to restore the historic building in order to use it as an outdoor venue, which will also feature a stage element that has been built by the city’s public works department.

Mayor Arline Chapman said the ribbon cutting will kick off the many events planned at the gymnasium.

“Teri has done such a great job preparing for this and arranging the events to be held here this summer. She will also be giving tours of the interior which will showcase the ‘bride’ room, kitchen and stage area,” Chapman said. “It’s been a wonderful project with the help of many entities in order to make it a success.”

The first summer Sunday concert series will begin at 3 p.m. May 18 with Johnny Roquemore & the Bluegrass Apostles, Sweet Harmony and storyteller Andy Irwin.

For more information, contact Teri Haler at thaler@cityofporterdale.com.