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Mansfield Hopes Best Days Are Ahead for Historic Farr Best Theater

Closed by its former owner and in desperate need of repairs, Mansfield's historic Farr Best Theater seemed poised to make its final curtain call.

Now, nearly a year after the city swooped in and purchased the century-old building, they're hopeful the theater's best days are ahead of it.

"I hope that this is a space that can make the arts really accessbile to everyone in our community," said Rosalie Gilbert, Cultural Arts Supervisor for the City of Mansfield. "And that it can be a venue for the community to come together around the arts."

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The city bought the theater in February of 2017 for $450,000, following a bizarre feud with its former owner, who accused city leaders of trying to hurt his business by supporting a new outdoor amphitheater called the LOT just down the street. At one point, that owner painted graffiti on the building and hung signs outside of it encouraging people not to shop in Mansfield.

After purchasing the property, the city spent much of the year making improvements to the space including repainting the interior, adding new flooring, installing a new A/C system, repairing the roof, and bringing the theater up to modern safety and fire code standards.

They also added a new projection system, which will allow them to show movies at the theater, as well as a new audio system for performances.

"With the purchase and the renovations last year, the investment has been over $500,000 at this point," said Gilbert.

Gilbert says additional improvements are needed -- but with the work that's been done, they can really begin rolling out shows and events there.

"We want this to be a facility that everyone in our community can use and come to see -- and enjoy a variety of arts programming," said Gilbert.

For a full list of upcoming events, you can visit the Farr Best Theater website. The theater sits along Main Street in Mansfield's Historic Downtown.

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