Basketball courts

Art-themed basketball courts arrive at former Dickson Theater location

Photo: Abigail Atkinson

Try to think of the very last title you thought you would see on the Flyer today. Understood? Ok there you go.

Was it “art-themed basketball courts coming to the former Dickson Theater location?” If so, good job. You would be right (liar).

Crews have been working in recent weeks to demolish the building, formerly located at 227 W. Dickson Street next to the former Dickson Theater, to make way for a new project created in partnership with the Tyson Family Foundation and Experience Fayetteville called ‘Art Short .’

The project, according to foundation representative Jordan Garner, who is leading the project for Art Court, is to create an art-themed basketball court and public and community space on the site. The project would be managed by Experience Fayetteville and funded by a $ 236,000 grant from the Tyson Family Foundation.

“We engaged with the Experience Fayetteville team last summer to start discussions on the opportunity and the Experience Fayetteville team has been an incredible partner,” said Garner. “Their role in the three-year project will be fully funded by philanthropic funds and will focus on day-to-day operations and communications. Experience Fayetteville and the Fayetteville A&P Commission are recognized tourism leaders, proactive in promoting the diversity of residents, businesses and events that make Fayetteville a great place to live and visit.

Fayetteville CEO Molly Rawn said she expects the Visitors Bureau’s role in the project to include opening and closing the space each day, managing social media and maintaining the space with things like paint, supplies, and netting.

Rawn said, however, that she does not plan to schedule the space for events.

“We don’t plan on using it for events and things like that,” she said. “We want it to be open and available. I think that’s one of the coolest things about the project, is that we don’t know exactly how people are going to use it, whether it’s just playing pickup games. , or as a place to spend time, or as a place to take pictures. We’re excited to open it up and see how people are using the space.

The basketball courts will not be full size when completed, but will be fully functional for basketball or a friendly “HORSE” game.

Artists from local creative agency BLKBOX are working on the design of the space, Garner said.

“It will be a free public community space with art and play,” Garner said. “There will also be basketball elements. It will be in the open and we plan to use parts of the existing building, a nod to the colorful past and memories of the various businesses once located at 227 W Dickson.

The project came about in part, Garner said, thanks to a 2019 Place Creation Foundation officials conference that highlighted the importance of outdoor public spaces in a community.

Garner said the group hopes to use the project as a testing ground for future similar projects in the region.

“TFF and property owner Art Court, LLC are hoping that by turning the unused property into a pocket park-like project, it will give us a better understanding of how our community interacts with a public space in our downtown neighborhood. city, ”she said. “We hope to learn how space is used and how it wants to be used and share these learnings with the Town of Fayetteville for the opening of The Ramble, our downtown arts and culture corridor.”

Property records show the building was last sold in 2018 to HMT de Fayetteville LLC, the same company that owns the Three Sisters building across the street. HMT bought from CB Real Estate Holdings LLC, a group had hoped to build a cinema on the property before abandoning the project in 2018. The property was transferred to Art Court in April this year.

Construction on the project is underway, with contractor CDI Construction working on construction and landscape design through Ecological Design Group.

If all goes well, Garner said more announcements about the project are expected to be released later this summer and that she hopes the project will be up and running by fall.