Local, area artists give input during meeting

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Local and area artists met with Zack Mannheimer, principal community planner with McClure Engineering, recently as a part of the creative placemaking process of the Atmore downtown revitalization effort.

The meeting was held at the Main Street Gallery, a new business that invites artists to sell their items.

Mannheimer, who has been the consultant on the project, said the plan is to renovate the Strand Theatre and work outward to revitalize downtown. He said the idea is to have the theatre, and adjacent buildings, under one ownership.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Since the revitalization effort began last December, Mannheimer said he’s interviewed more than 200 people, and should have a full-scale business model soon.

Mannheimer reiterated the fact that most of his suggestions are ideas based off of input from interviews he’s had with the community.

Some of the ideas for the Strand Theatre include:

• keeping the theatre as a movie theatre

• expanding the concessions area, getting rid of the low ceiling

• show independent family films

As far as the old hardware store to the south of the theatre, Mannheimer said the first floor can be utilized as a space for music with a stage.

“You can use it as a rental facility, and it can double as a bar,” he said.

In the upstairs portion of the hardware store, classrooms can be opened for dance, photography lessons, tap, etc., he said.

“During the day, you can have an arts-based childcare,” he said.

In the old Radioshack building, a microbrewery, ice cream/pizza parlor and other ideas are slated for the space, Mannheimer said.

“You have talent here,” he said.

Mannheimer said a full action plan for the revitalization effort will be released later this spring.

During his most recent visit, Mannheimer also met with a large portion of the African American community at David’s Catfish.