Facade changes, loans a good start
Nothing succeeds like success. If that statement is a truism, then the downtown area of Atmore is about to take off on the road to success.
First National Bank is taking the first step to help the grand old lady that is our town get a facelift.
Architects have already been to Atmore, surveying the buildings that the bank owns on Nashville Avenue. Next the architects firm will render a drawing of proposed facade changes that it envisions for the buildings, now used for storage.
Like bank president Shep Marsh has said, "They are without tenants, but they don't have to look like empty buildings." At the present, those buildings are used by the bank for storage.
It is hoped that the facade update – or perhaps backdate is a better term, since the area has an vintage look already – will spur other business and building owners to improve their own buildings as well.
But First National's involvement doesn't just stop with its own buildings, although it is to be lauded for leading by example.
It is also making low interest loans available to the owners or tenants of buildings that are in need of refreshment.
The hopes are that the whole idea will snowball, and the dressing up of downtown will spread from Main and Nashville to the other streets. When the area begins to look neat and prosperous, businesses will be more inclined to want to locate there. Until then, the existing businesses will still draw more walk in clients because the area is attractive, just somewhere shoppers and diners would like to be.
Additionally, when an area is quaint, charming and tidy, people who otherwise would just pass through on the way to and from the interstate will be more inclined to stop and do business here.
In that way, Atmore will become a destination, rather than just a few stop lights between where someone is coming from and where they are going.
This is a good idea, one that will work if it is allowed to work. The plan is like a tiny spark in the fireplace.
Now it needs only to be gently kindled into a small flame, then into a blaze.
Atmore has all the potential in the world.
All it needs is that spark, and before long, it will be blowing and glowing like a house afire.
But the spark of which we speak is not just the spark of inspiration, although that is important to change.
This is the spark of hope, the spark of what if, the spark of possibility.
For far too long, Atmore has been in the grasp of a sense of pervading hopelessness. It has seeped into the everyday fabric of the town.
Now we have the chance to do away with that sense forever.
And we should grab that chance with both hands.
Fresh ideas, gentle rivalry, low interest improvement dollars. What are we waiting for?