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SEE HOW: A $50,000 grant will transform a vacant Thomasville building into a gateway to the arts

City plans to enhance Downtown Creative District with new entrance to The Ritz Amphitheater
Posted at 10:24 PM, Jul 02, 2024
  • Thomasville recieved $50,000 T-Mobile grant for 'Gateway to The Ritz Amphitheater'
  • Project includes landscaping, seating, and facade preservation.
  • Watch the video to see how the project helps local businesses in the Bottom.

The plan to transform this vacant building in Thomasville is moving forward.

I'm tracking how 50-thousand dollars will help bring positive change here.

Thomasville secured a $50,000 grant to transform 233 W Jackson Street into the 'Gateway' to The Ritz Amphitheater.

Kenny Thompson, City planner tells me the grant will help with the city's creative district plan.

A plan that was adopted by the city of Thomasville in 2014 in collaboration with local organizations like the center for the arts and Jack Hadley history museum to bring art and history to downtown Thomasville.

Among the main projects on the plan were the The Ritz Amphitheater and the revitalization of the west Jackson street scape.

Thompson tells me this money will help finish the Ritz Amphitheater project.

"This is really seen as one of the final pieces of the Ritz Amphitheater," Said Thompson

He says ever since the Ritz Amphitheater was built, it has activated the downtown area and brought big events and concert but it never had a proper entrance.

"there was never really a gateway to the Ritz so we saw this vacant space as an opportunity to create that gateway to connect people over into the amphitheater from west Jackson Street and the the rest of downtown," Said Thompson

Thompson tells me the plan is to preserve the front facade while also bringing life inside the space

"We wanted to be able to create opportunities cities for landscaping, create opportunities for shade, for people to be able to sit and gather, And while it will be an entrance into the amphitheater, we really wanted to see this as a space in of itself," Said Thompson.

The city's plan for the gateway is to add Landscaping , a roof structure, a ticketing booth as well as Benches and tables

Gussie Williams has been working in the bottom for over 40 years as a cosmetologist. She opened her own salon in 2001 after moving from across the street on 311 West Jackson

Gussie tells me the Ritz was a known as 'the place' in the 1980s

"It was a place that people went and they really enjoyed going to the movies and having a good time down here," said Williams.

She says things changed in the bottom over the years and to see that part of history preserved and celebrated is wonderful.

"a lot more can understand the history of actually where it all starts and picking it up and continue it," said Williams.

"You don't want to erase history, you want to continue building from that," said Williams.

With the city's effort to revitalize downtown Thomasville , Gussie hopes that it helps attracts visitors to the area.

"I really like all the the beautification and everything they are doing. It just enhances the city of Thomasville itself it just looks beautiful. So when they come in they will be looking like oh, that looks nice and exciting over there, so it attracts all types of people ," said Williams.

Thompson tells me a vacant storefront has never been fit to local economy or the local street scape

"Really being able to cultivate this space is gonna have a very beneficial role for all of downtown and Thomasville, said Thompson.

A project reveal and check presentation are planned for July 11, at 5:30 in the evening here on 233 W Jackson Street.