Former Dickson Theater building to host basketball in downtown Fayetteville


FAYETTEVILLE – Add pickup basketball to the list of upcoming amenities on Dickson Street.

The Publicity and Promotion Commission on Monday accepted a grant of $ 236,566 from the Tyson Family Foundation to operate the former Dickson Theater building as an art-themed basketball court for three years .

The plan is to open the court this fall. The teams have been working on the modernization of the building and designs are underway, said Jordan Garner of the foundation.

The south, east and west walls of the building will be retained, with the roof removed. Garner described the setup as an open-air courtyard with parts of the structure reconstructed and restored.

“This dilapidated property will hopefully be an asset to our community,” she said. “Originally, it was intended to be a community space, but after 2020 and all that we have all experienced, it only made us want to prioritize this project and partner with the city to attract even more people downtown.

Experience Fayetteville, the city’s tourism board, will receive the grant in three installments over the next three years. The office will not make any improvements to the building, said Molly Rawn, the office’s general manager. On the contrary, Experience Fayetteville will take care of the day-to-day operation and maintenance, such as opening and closing, garbage collection, cleaning and promoting the space on social media, he said. she declared.

“This is not a traditional basketball court in that it is not intended for regulation, competitive or official games,” said Rawn. “It’s a very artistic space where it’s organic and unexpected, where you can choose to come in, bring your own ball, and play a pickup game. “

Art Court, LLC, owns the property, according to Washington County Online Records. The limited liability company is registered in the name of T. Craig Jones, attorney for Fayetteville. The property was transferred to Art Court, LLC in late April for $ 10 from HMT of Fayetteville, LLC. Jones is also the registered agent for HMT of Fayetteville, LLC, according to Arkansas Secretary of State’s online files. Olivia Tyson signed the deed on behalf of HMT.

HMT purchased the property for $ 950,000 at the end of October 2018. Prior to that, business partners Greg Billingsley, Ross Cully and Brian Hill had planned to turn the space into an independent movie theater. Project cost estimates kept rising and the partners brought the property to market. They bought the property for $ 630,000 in 2014.

The building, originally a body shop, housed several bars and nightclubs in the 1970s, according to the local history book Once Upon Dickson by Tony Wappel and Ethel Simpson. The city closed the building in 1982 after two people were stabbed outside the club, then known as the Landing Strip.

Downtown Outdoor Outfitters was there until 2000, and it became the Dickson Theater a year later.

Partners in the new project, previously called an arts court, include CDI Contractors, BLKBOX, Myers Engineering and Environmental Design Group, as well as the Tyson Family Foundation and Experience Fayetteville.

Rawn described the project as an ideal public-private partnership in the wake of covid-19. The office’s programming and marketing over the past year has focused on the outdoor experiences, which the project will be able to deliver in a downtown space, she said.

“I don’t think it’s something that goes away, even when we get out of covid,” Rawn said.

The committee will review a three-year rental agreement with the landlord at a future meeting.

Demolition work continues Monday, June 28, 2021, at the former Dickson Theater building on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. The Tyson Family Foundation and Experience Fayetteville are teaming up to help transform the old site into an art field incorporating elements of basketball and art for public use. Visit and (NWA Democrat-Gazette / JT Wampler)

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The Fayetteville Publicity and Promotion Commission accepted a grant of $ 236,566 from the Tyson Family Foundation to operate the former Dickson Theater site as an art-infused outdoor basketball court. The grant will be administered in three installments over three years:

Thursday: $ 79,630

July 31, 2022: $ 75,970

July 31, 2023: $ 80,966

Source: Fayetteville experience

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