By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
The Downtown Mt. Vernon Development Corporation celebrated a successful year in the district, with new projects, renovations and growth.
The DMDC hosted a Downtown Lowdown at Granada Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday morning, and another new project was introduced at the historic theatre.
“In the area next door, which was a book store, we want to create double doors to open (the foyer of the Granada) to the other building,” Granada President Barbara D’Arcy explained. “We want to keep the 30s art deco feel, and have the area for a lounge. We’re talking about naming it Marvel Lounge after Homer Marvel, the manager of the theater when it first opened.”
Plans call for a food and beverage preparation area and a seating area.
“It would give us more flexibility and organization for events,” D’Arcy said. “We would also be able to lock the doors when the children’s matinee is taking place, so alcohol would be out of sight and not available. We want to create a venue with a cafe feel where there can be light entertainment.”
And, the area would also receive the a special mural.
“We were recently contact by Jim Orrison, who was one of the artists who created the mural you see in the foyer,” D’Arcy said. “He was wanting to update and restore the mural, add some current stars. ... We asked him instead if he would consider a mural for the new lounge. ... It would be opposite the mirrors, and mirror the same size and feel.”
D’Arcy said Orrison would donate his time and talent, while the Granada is considering whether it has the ability to fund the materials for the project.
The Granada recently received Downtown Tax Increment Finance District funds to replace a section of the roof, and professionals from the community have volunteered their expertise in continuing with the tiering project for the floor in the main auditorium.
In addition to hearing from D’Arcy, DMDC Executive Director Cyndy Mitchell outlined some of the projects undertaken by the organization this year.
The Downtown Lowdown events were a new feature, and will continue next year; the First Fridays event was new to 2012, and will not only continue next year but expand.
“We will extend the program to start in May and continue through October,” Mitchell said. “It will continue to feature local businesses, artists and crafters.”
The Ninth Street Streetscape program is expected to move forward in the spring; and ideas are being gathered for the Ninth Street green space next to the 9th Street Grill.
Those in attendance heard an update of city projects from Councilman Dennis McEnaney, and saw a slide show pictures taken of the downtown area from 1959-1963.