‘It’s going to be a tremendous asset:’ New community arts and cultural center coming to West Birmingham

Community excited over "Opportunity Center" in Fairview
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 5:42 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new community center called The Opportunity Center is expected to repurpose an old church building to create a cultural hub aimed at revitalizing the Fairview community.

The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to rezone the property located in the 1600 block of 4th Ct. W.

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The proposal, is to “repurpose the existing building into a community arts and cultural center that is rented out to various businesses and non-profits. The Opportunity Center for Arts and Culture site will include a 300- seat venue for theatrical performances, a large reception lobby, a community dining hall, and a full-sized basketball gymnasium. The center will provide opportunities for authentic self-expression, cultural heritage preservation, and life-long learning through a trade school, daycare (Dorothy’s Educational Learning Lab), and various non-profits that target the neighborhood’s youth, families, women, young adults and veterans.”

Fairview community president Adlai Trone says the center will bring positive energy. “It’s going to be a tremendous asset to the neighborhood one, but the community at large most importantly.”

Trone grew up in the center when it was once owned by Sardis Baptist Church. He described it as a vessel for young people.

The church sold the building and now its new owner is transforming it with a new security system and gymnasium floor, according to Trone.

Birmingham City Councilor Carol Clarke representing District 8 says there will even be a dance studio space with mirrors and bars behind the theatre. She believes it will help bring the community together.

“We’re looking forward to having places to meet or hear a lecture or go to a workshop or just -- places to be in community together,” said Clarke.

Trone says this will be a frontrunner in revitalizing West Birmingham.

“The biggest asset is you don’t have to travel 4,10, 20, 30 miles to go and have a good time,” he said. “I think this is going to be an anchor for many big things to come.”

He anticipates The Opportunity Center to open within the next month few months.

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