WILKES-BARRE -- A group of people who have been working for a year to figure out how to restore the Irem Tremple in Wilkes-Barre met tonight with the public at the City Market and Cafe on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre. It's the beginning of the efforts from a group wanting to restore the historic Irem Temple on North Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre, which closed a decade ago.
Some of the people at the meeting remembered the good times they had from when it was opened. This woman went to her daughter's dance recitals here.
"I thought it was an absolute wonderful experience to go inside the building and be in total awe of the workmanship inside," said Juliane Von Schmeling of Dallas.
Several younger people also came to the meeting, including 19-year-old Adam Ferrucci.
"I think it's really important we preserve our area's heritage," he said.
Members with the Irem Temple Restoration and Preservation Fund organized the meeting. They've been working for more than a year to bring the building back to life, and wanted to share their ideas with the public.
"You can put a boxing ring or wrestling ring in the middle of it and put bleachers on the sides, we talked about putting the farmers market in there during the winter," said Christian Weilage, a board member.
The group is also raising money for emergency repairs. They estimate it would cost about $100,000 to figure out what needs to be fixed.
Historians say the significance of the building is in its architecture. It was built in 1907, when Wilkes-Barre was supplying coal for the industrial revolution.
"It shows you the wealth that we had at that one time, and it's important for any community in america to save their cultural heritage," said Wilkes-Barre City Councilman Tony Brooks.
There are four more meetings planned. The next one is set for January 4th. That meeting will be held online at 7:30 at night on GoToMeeting.