• Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Business Pulse – The Park Shines Bright

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Nov 12, 2022

The lights are on

All my life, my favorite place in McMinnville has been the Park Theatre. As a kid in the late 70s and early 80s, there was something about the big red neon sign on Main Street that drew me like a butterfly to a flame.

This is where my dad took me when I was 3 to see the original Star Wars in 1977. This is where I saw Superman, ET, Flash Gordon, The Jungle Book, Pete’s Dragon , Rocky and many more.

My love for the Park Theater has lived on even through its days as a Social Security office. I looked at the panel above the marquee that had been covered and remembered what once was. I would go to the Social Security office and look for signs of my old happy place.

My love of the park runs so deep that in 2008, before there was any real renovation, I proposed to my wife, Ashley, outside the boarded up doors of the theater and we even considered having our wedding . there when it was little more than a dusty, moldy basement.

I say all this to say how grateful I am to see him alive and thriving today. I thank Sandra Haynes and the rest of the Park Theater Group for all the work they have done to keep the memories alive and further the cause of the theater renovation. I thank Jimmy Haley and all the city leaders at the time who pushed the renovation to the finish line.

And I’m grateful for the new management taking the park to new heights through their efforts to improve the range of entertainment offered in the grand showplace. Park Theater Director Joe Harvey, along with the Park Theater Advisory Board and Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Pedigo, are working to increase both the frequency and quality of events offered and, in my opinion, they are succeeding .

In addition to presenting local theater, such as the Dream Reality Group productions directed by Logan Taylor, Joe and the advisory board have been pushing for a larger budget to help book more shows and bigger draws.

The result has been some quality programming this year that has kept the big red sign lit steadily over the past few weekends and will continue throughout the month.

In recent weeks, the theater has featured country star Keith Anderson, famed bluegrass singer Dan Tyminski, famed comedian James Gregory and nationally acclaimed Queen tribute band, The Kings of Queen.

On a personal note, I attended the Kings of Queen show last Saturday night and really had a blast. Lead singer Emo Alaeddin commanded the stage with the allure and swagger of Freddie Mercury and thoroughly entertained the large crowd. The show was indicative of the kind of crowd-pleasing talent that Park’s management is committed to bringing in.

This weekend saw a Veterans Day celebration and the Chip Greene & Friends benefit show. The rest of the month will bring country legends Confederate Railroad and Joe’s own band, The Joe Harvey Band, always a McMinnville favorite. Next year’s lineup has already gotten off to a good start with Grammy-nominated folk duo The Milk Carton Kids, due out January 20.

Although not old enough to have the fond childhood memories of the park that I have, Joe is a McMinnville boy who loves the community and knows the important role the Park Theater plays in it. I applaud his efforts so far, including the little things he’s done like lighting the park sign at community events that bring people to Main Street, even when they don’t necessarily involve theater. I know I’m always a little happier being downtown when the park lights are on.

After seeing what Joe and his team have done in less than a year on the job, I think the future of the Park Theater is as bright as its iconic neon sign.

The old school sings

new melody

School is out and the campground is at the old downtown school. Sam Tune bought the old school building a few years ago and rents out the gym which includes inflatables, pool tables, ping pong, air hockey and basketball. He organized parties, meetings and even a few weddings.

Recently, Sam turned to the old downtown baseball diamond and hit a home run with some campers. The business is called Skoolhouse Campground and has got off to a good start.

“Behind the school, we took what was the original baseball field and developed an RV park and campground. It’s pretty cool. It all worked out exactly how we wanted it to. It’s a very good project,” said Tune. “It should be good for everyone, good for us, good for Middle Tennessee, good for Warren County and good for McMinnville. We have five campers right now and two on the way. By the end of November, we should have eight to ten campers here.We have 21 sites.

The sites are set up for people to bring their own campers, but Sam plans to put 2-4 of his own campers up for rent, either long-term or as an Airbnb.

“We started here on October 3rd and have been extremely blessed with the weather. We completed construction in 30 days. I’m very lucky to have multiple campers in the first two weeks,” Sam said.

Skoolhouse Campground offers things that not all campgrounds can. “We are open 12 months a year. Some campgrounds close from October to April, but we do not close. We offer full water, sewer and electrical hook-up. All of our campsites are equipped with 50 and 30 amp electrical hookups. All campgrounds offer this. You can hook up your sewer just like at home; you don’t have to go empty your sewer tank. We’ve put in a lot of work, a lot of planning and a lot of money in there,” Sam said.

Sam is aided in the project by his wife, Greta Tune. Sam also appreciates the help of the local authorities he has dealt with to start the business. “The folks at Warren County, the Codes Department, the Health Department, Caney Fork Electric, everyone has been so cooperative and a pleasure to work with. Every entity we’ve dealt with, we’ve been fortunate to working with them. They welcomed us with open arms.”

Skoolhouse Campground is located at 252 Line Street and Sam can be reached at (615) 849-6509.

A quick update

at a fast pace

Fast Pace Physical Therapy announced a ribbon cutting and grand opening Thursday at its location on Old Smithville Rd. According to Fast Pace’s Facebook page, the company “provides personalized and helpful treatment for physical therapy injuries and conditions and sports medicine. Our goal is to have a plan developed that meets your care needs, improves mobility and limits future injuries.”

Until next time,

same working time

same business page

Send me all your business tips and suggestions at editor@southernstandard.com and (931) 473-2191. Thanks to Ben Lomand Connect for sponsoring the column and thanks to you for reading.