HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - The Beacon Theater is proving to be a beacon of light in Hopewell. The theater just reopened three months ago, but already has brought more people to the area by the thousands.
Since it's hay day in the 1990s, some say Hopewell has gotten a bad rap.
"Some of the buildings have been lacking in repair a lot of business moved out,"said Evan Kaufman.
You could call Kaufman one of the city's biggest fans. He heads up the Hopewell Downtown Partnership and says the area has a lot of potential and slowly but surely more people are starting to notice.
"The community is really starting to come around and embrace it and really starting to believe that change is possible here," Kaufman said.
One of the biggest examples of that change is the success of the Beacon Theater. It opened in January and with a successful line up and several sold out shows.
More than 4,500 people have flocked to the theater and pumped thousands of dollars into the local economy.
"It's really a gem, and what it's done is it's brought people from all different area's that may not have come to Hopewell in the past," Kaufman said.
The hope is that the success at the Beacon is just the beginning, and that Hopewell and the tri-cities area in general is on the brink of a comeback. In fact, more revitalization is already in the works.
"Coffee shop, art gallery, a lounge, there is going to be an outdoor area," and much more as Kaufman told us.
Grants have even been secured to make the plans a reality, and some of the changes will be seen in just months. The ultimate goal is to make Hopewell a destination.
If success at the Beacon continues, more than 13,000 people are expected to visit the area by the end of they year.