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United Bank’s donation to Pride of Atmore will not be forgotten

The other day, Emilee Waters, United Bank branch manager and assistant vice president, asked The Atmore Advance to come and take a picture at the bank on Monday.

She gave us the reason for the picture, and we thought it was going to be an ordinary donation, however.

United Bank and UB Community Development, a community development partner of United Bank announced Tuesday that a combined donation of $100,000 was made to the Pride of Atmore in the restoration of the historic Strand Theatre and the adjoining former hardware store located on Main Street, according to a release.

The Strand Theatre is one of the most iconic landmarks in downtown Atmore. The POA plans to renovate the beloved theatre to look like it did when it was originally built, utilizing state and federal historic tax credits as a major source of funding. With the needed upgrades and repairs, along with a complete façade restoration, the POA hopes to inspire and accelerate development throughout downtown Atmore.

“United Bank was founded and began doing business in downtown Atmore in 1904. Throughout the next 115 years, the Bank has seen downtown flourish and like many towns fade,” said Robert R. Jones III, United Bank president and CEO.  “The efforts of the Pride of Atmore, as well as the many new small businesses, are bringing new life into this important area. We are proud to be able to support this resurgence.  United Bank and UB Community Development are pleased to donate these funds, but also contribute to this effort with our offices, which have 86 employees working every day in this area.  Our companies and owners are committed to supporting community development.  In addition, the Church Street Incubator, operated by United Bank Charitable Foundation, offers other startup businesses an opportunity to begin their history in downtown Atmore.”

The former Atmore Hardware Store will see a complete transformation of its own, according to the release.

The first floor of the building will become a flexible performance space and rental venue, including a moveable stage and fixed bar area. The second floor would feature two to three flexible classroom spaces and a small recording studio available for rent and music lessons. Also, included on the second floor an artist studio apartment to be home to a resident artist who will commit to teaching classes for the POA’s education program.

We at The Atmore Advance applaud United Bank for making such a donation to Pride of Atmore for its restoration effort.

This donation reminded us how strong we are as a community.