Pride Project ongoing

Published 6:07 pm Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Officials gave update; hope to begin construction soon

Pride of Atmore officials announced March 7 their goal to start construction on the Strand Theatre project is within the next two months.

Executive Director Foster Kizer said on the Pride of Atmore’s Facebook page that he’s asking all for some patience in regard to the project.

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“We on the board of directors of the Pride of Atmore realize that it appears that nothing is going on with the project,” Kizer said. “The two buildings seem to be just sitting there with no progress. Believe me, we are more anxious than anyone to see this move forward.”

The project Kizer is referring to is the Pride of Atmore’s efforts to restore and rennovate the Strand Theatre and the Old Hardware Store on Main Street. The local organization has held fundraisers and received grants for the project.

Kizer said a lot has contributed to the project’s delaying.

“Lumber prices have increased 140 percent in the past 11 months,” he said. “Steel prices have soared. The cost of construction has come in above what we had first projected due to these increases. 

“We met our first goal of raising $3.2 million,” he added. “This is unheard of for a non-profit project in our community. The Atmore community has pulled together many times supporting our fundraising efforts. With the covid pandemic, we have had to cancel many of our fundraising events over the past year. I am personally asking Atmore to be a bit more patient as we continue to raise funds to cover the unexpected increase in building materials.”

At present, Kizer said the organization is working to get construction started as soon as possible.

“Our goal is to start construction within the next couple of months,” he said. “One other situation adding to our delays is that we are awaiting approval from the Alabama State Building Commission for final approval. Restoring and renovating historic buildings comes with many side issues. 

“We have to seek approval for our project from multiple local, state and federal agencies,” he said. “Please be patient and we promise you will see progress continuing in the near future.  This will be your facility Atmore. This belongs to the entire community. This is not a private venture, this is being funded and paid for by grants, donations and contributions from the public. We would like to thank everyone for your support and please continue to help out as we push forward with new fund raising efforts to bring this project to completion.”