Efforts to renovate Bessemer’s Lincoln Theatre attract filmmaker, may draw grant money
By Jesse Chambers | Published by Al.com
May 03, 2013
BESSEMER, Alabama — Bessemer native Jake Bivona makes his living as an attorney, but his passion is the art of film.
“I’m a big movie fan,” he said in January. “I own about 6,000 movies on DVD or cassette. I read about film. I consider it an art form, if it’s done right.”
Bivona is also passionate about his efforts over the last few months to generate interest in Bessemer in a renovation of the Lincoln Theatre downtown, a long-closed movie house on First Avenue North that was once part of a vibrant African-American shopping and entertainment district.
“The (Lincoln’s) such a beautiful structure,” he said. “And Bessemer needs a shot in the arm downtown something awful.”
It seems that Bivona’s quest is bearing some fruit.
He has a good chance of receiving some federal grant money from the City of Bessemer to help jumpstart the project.
And a local filmmaker recently began shooting a documentary film about the Lincoln and efforts to restore it.
Pending approval by the City Council later in May, Bivona will receive $16,000 of the city’s federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money, according to Forrest Davis, Bessemer’s Director of Economic and Community Development.
The money would pay for a much-needed appraisal of the property and a feasibility study for the project.
Davis Architects in Birmingham and 409 Management & Consulting would conduct the feasibility study, according to an email from Bivona.