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Luncheon held at Strand

What’s unique about Atmore, globally?

That’s the question that was asked at a luncheon event held at the Strand Theatre on Dec. 7, where representatives from the McClure Engineering Co. received feedback from the community on the downtown revitalization effort in Atmore. The city and Pride of Atmore hosted the luncheon.

Zack Mannheimer, principal community planner with McClure, talked about how Atmore can revitalize its downtown area by starting with the Strand Theatre.

McClure Engineering Co. has been helping build strong communities since the 1950s. The company’s area of expertise is guiding clients on making long term capital investments in infrastructure, according to McClure’s website.

In October, the city of Atmore received a Delta Regional Authority creative placemaking investment grant. Atmore was one of 16 cities to receive the grant. The grant awarded helped to bring McClure’s services to the city.

Mannheimer spoke about the evolution of transforming a town’s infrastructure around a central theme, or in Atmore’s case, the theatre.

He cited a project McClure helped work on in De Moine, Iowa, where a big portion of the downtown was transformed around an art center.

“Companies want to see a revitalized downtown,” he said.

Mannheimer said by renovating the Strand Theatre, he believes this will be the catalyst of the revitalization effort in Atmore.

During a brainstorming session, several members of the community named things they’d like to see in Atmore that doesn’t exist.

The suggestions included, but are not limited to:

• a museum

• a concert hall for symphonies

• a jazz hall

• a pub

• an after school programs

• bike trails

• a dog park

• child care

• comprehensive medical care

• larger event venue

• free downtown Internet

• cigar clubs

• sushi restaurants

• improved schools

Then, Mannheimer asked the community what it would like to see the theatre to be used as.

The suggestions included, but are not limited to:

• live entertainment

• recording studio

• movie theatre showing cult classics

• seasonal event venue

Over the next two weeks, McClure Engineering Co. will be working on an action plan for the effort.

“We’re going to give you a specific action plan,” Mannheimer said. “It’s on you guys to actually do it.”