The Appalachian Arts Alliance has been working through the demolition phase of the Art Station project for months and is beginning the build-back phase.
Downtown Coordinator and AAA board member Bailey Richards said that organizers are glad the community is able to see the work put into the project.
“There’s been actual physical stuff going on there since probably the end of May or the beginning of June, but a lot of it has been happening in the back so I’ve had a ton of people come up and say, ‘I thought you guys were working on it , I thought you guys were moving forward, i’m not seeing anything,” said Richards. “Everybody noticed that wall coming down and we were really excited for that because we knew that that and painting were going to be the big things everyone would see.”
Richards said that, due to the building’s age, most of the work being done so far hadn’t been noticeable to those just passing by.
“That building has been empty for so long and there’s a million different places where there could be like a split in the electrical, it made more sense to completely gut the whole thing and treat it like a new project,” Richards said. She added that officials hope to begin painting and pressure washing next week, and focus on the build-back phase of the project.
“We’ve finished the demolition phase so right now we’ve got no walls inside, the outside is open So now we’re in the build-back phase,” said Richards, “So the next things that we’re working on is getting the finalized drawings so that way we can get the plumbing plans and all things like that in place.”
Richards also said a team would be going through and removing any tiles that may contain asbestos.
“We’re still hopeful that we’re going to have at least part of the building open and ready to go by October.” She added that the goal for the Art Station is to create a space for a variety of events, classes and more.
“It’s going to be a pretty flexible space that can be used for all kinds of different things, which is definitely the goal,” she said. “We don’t want to replicate the amphitheater, we don’t want to replicate some of these other event places, we just want to have a space that can be used pretty flexibly,” said Richards. The different parts of the Art Station would be used to provide various opportunities.
“Where we’ll have the kitchen, we’re going to be able to have pop-up restaurants and things like that taking place,” said Richards, “In the courtyard area we’re going to have big gates across the front and back and it connects to the inside and the courtyard is going to be able to have a stage; It’ll be a moveable stage that we can use for performances and things like that, it can also be used for weddings, parties, events.”
Those passing through downtown Hazard are likely to see progress continue at the Art Station until its completion. Richards said that the Appalachian Arts Alliance hopes to have at least part of the space open by October.