The COVID-19 pandemic may have shuttered the Sumrall Cinema for a time, but thanks to a recent $2,500 Community Development Grant from the Mississippi Main Street Association, that endeavor is back on its way to town.
The funds will allow officials from the Sumrall Main Street Association to purchase a new projector, a 24-foot outdoor screen, four speakers and a full audio setup.
“We have been not able to do Sumrall Cinema for so long, so the fact that this is going to open up that opportunity – we’re beyond excited,” said Sabreya DeLancey, executive director of the Sumrall Main Street Association. “We’ve done Sumrall Cinema in the past; it was something we outsourced to other companies, where we rented equipment and rented the movie rights.
“But now, we’ll be able to keep the equipment, so we can do it more often and in more places. Then we’ll kind of be able to use that equipment in pieces, so we can use the audio at our downtown events, we can use the projector to do presentations around town at businesses or town hall.”
Although officials don’t have an exact start date for Sumrall Cinema – depending on when the equipment comes in – the plan is to start with a holiday movie before moving toward kid- and family-style movies in the spring. For the foreseeable future, the movies will continue to be held outdoors until the COVID-19 situation improves.
Although the movies were traditionally held near the Sumrall Longleaf Trace station, officials are in talks to bring the event to various spots around town.
“Since Day One on this job, all I hear about is Sumrall Cinema and when is it coming back,” DeLancey said. “This is something that’s been a favorite for our residents, and they are more excited to see it come back, I think, than anybody in our Main Street Association is.”
Sumrall is one of 12 Main Street Communities that recently applied for and received the Community Development Grants, which are designed to incentivize development, improvement and revitalization in historic downtown business districts throughout Mississippi. MMSA Designated Communities were able to apply for individual funds of up to $2,500 with a required matching investment for shovel-ready brick and mortar projects as well as consulting services that may be used to carry out the local Main Street organization's program of work.
The Community Development Grant may be used for a wide range of projects as long as the project’s purpose supports the revitalization goals of the community.
Other communities receiving grants include Biloxi, Booneville, Cleveland, Gulfport, Nettleton, Pascagoula, Philadelphia, Picayune, Pontotoc, Vicksburg and Water Valley.
"MMSA is delighted to award these Main Street Designated Communities with community development project funds that will help them achieve their downtown revitalization goals," said Thomas Gregory, MMSA State Coordinator. "Providing financial assistance to our communities is just one of many ways that MMSA supports and empowers our Main Street communities in Mississippi.”