Vision and hard work are a combination that usually gets results. And those were the principal factors in the story behind the conversion of a dilapidated downtown theater into the Magnolia Civic Center and Cine Theatre.

As we observe the 10th anniversary year of the center Saturday with “A Magnolia Christmas” program, we should take a moment to step back and pat ourselves on the back for what has been accomplished.

In 1998 Mrs. Anne Stephens and her family, along with Bill Harwell, who had a part interest in the building, decided to donate the closed theater to the city of New Albany.

That set in motion a series of events—some positive, some discouraging, most challenging—that puts us where we are today. We have a theater that seats 320 people and a companion meeting room that holds 125, all put together on a tight budget that sometimes astounds even those involved in the project.

We think the community owes a debt of gratitude to members of the original committee formed to oversee the work: Mike Staten, Denotee Martin, Janice Hall, Bobby Gault, David Holmes, Joe Marshall Davis, Phil Nanney, Martha Kate Wiseman and Nancy Kidd. We also would salute former mayors Walter Johnson and Billy Wiseman, during whose terms most of the work was done.

Through the vision and hard work of these and lots of other people, the city has a downtown jewel.

We know that many other communities of similar size to New Albany have no such facility and are envious of the kind of visionary thinking that led to such projects as the civic center, the Sportsplex, the museum and soon, the Rails to Trails.

We can be proud of what has been done. But we also can scratch our heads a bit for those new visions, those new dreams, that will continue to improve our community and the lives of all of us.

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