Rocky Mount, VA - Rocky Mount is moving full steam ahead on a project town leaders believe will help them turn the corner on efforts to revitalize downtown.
The small town plans on making the changes through music as part of being the gateway to "The Crooked Road", a trail of communities that celebrate their musical heritage.
Crews have started work on a new, 400-seat venue in Rocky Mount.
Monday, Rocky Mount town leaders announced a new General Manager for the Harvester Performance Center.
As the interior demolition gets into full swing at the future home of Rocky Mount's Harvester Performance Center, outside, the venue is introduced to the building's new General Manager, Gary Jackson.
"This is just, it seems, serendipity that I am here in Franklin County and I can put all that experience in helping to develop a new venue," Jackson said.
Jackson is a 40-year veteran promoter that claims more than 10,000 concerts to his credit, with a thousand of those shows coming to the Roanoke Valley since he moved to Franklin County in 2005.
"I just feel I have so much to offer. I can certainly shorten that learning curve to make sure this venue gets up and running and is profitable," Jackson said.
Jackson, who will wean himself from his current duties at Roanoke's Kirk Music Hall, will be tasked with making the 400-seat venue a regional attraction that town leaders are betting on.
"A 40-mile radius you have a healthy population to draw from to fill a 400-seat theater. We can do that and we will do that," said Rocky Mount Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins.
"I just think it's really important to create an atmosphere where people who come to the shows... they and the performers on stage, they understand it's everybody together that creates that wonderful atmosphere and experience," Jackson said.
Rocky Mount Town leaders say the Harvester Performance Center is expected to act as a central economic hub that they hope will help fill empty storefronts downtown as well.
The $2.2 million project is set to open in spring of next year.