Special to Atmore News
United Bank and UB Community Development, a community development partner of United Bank, made a combined donation of $100,000 to the Pride of Atmore in the restoration of the historic Strand Theatre and the adjoining former hardware store located on Main Street in downtown Atmore. Once the theatre is restored, it will serve as the centerpiece for the Pride of Atmore (POA).
The Strand Theatre is one of the most iconic landmarks in downtown Atmore. The POA plans to renovate the 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 & 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. 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.
The education program may include painting, photography, woodworking and ceramics classes. Along with the offered classes, dance and yoga classes and after school and summer camps will be planned. The renovated theatre will host independent and second run films, cult classics and family films.