The Byrd Theatre Foundation is getting one of its wishes granted this Christmas. An anonymous corporate donor has given $150,000 to the foundation to repair the Byrd's leaky roof. The 2900 block of Cary Street was blocked off Dec. 5 to make room for a gigantic crane that began the work.
The irony of starting the work during the season's first sprinkling of snow wasn't lost on Jim Gordon, chair of the Byrd Theatre Foundation's restoration committee.
"Every roofing expert we talked to said we would need to get this work done before any significant snow or ice this winter," he says. "We are not a moment too early in getting this project started."
The contractor, Fan Roofing, has its work cut out for it. "There are about 14 leaks in the roof currently," says Todd Schall-Vess, general manager of the theater, which was built in 1928. "There are buckets up in the attic to catch the water from the leaks."
The Byrd was last restored in 1983. The roof was patched at that time but not fully restored. "We are determined to do this right," Gordon says. The Byrd will continue to show movies throughout the repair process.
The Byrd's roof is also scheduled to play a big role in Carytown's New Year's Eve celebration. There, a ball will be raised 100 feet on the roof to ring in 2008. Proceeds from the event go back to the Byrd Theatre Foundation, in addition to the Harvey Family Memorial Endowment. S