United Bank & UB Community Development, a community development partner of United Bank, together plan to donate $100,000 to the Pride of Atmore for the restoration of the historic Strand Theatre and an adjoining hardware on Main Street.
Once restored, the theater will serve as the centerpiece for the Pride of Atmore, a downtown revitalization effort for the Escambia County town. According to CinemaTreasures.org, the Strand Theatre operated since at least 1924, was rebuilt in 1936 and was still in use as recently as 2013 as a first run, single-screen movie theater.
“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,” says United Bank CEO Robert R. Jones III. “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.”
The former Atmore Hardware Store next door will see a transformation of its own. The first floor 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 is an artist studio apartment to be home to a resident artist who will commit to teaching classes for the POA’s education program.