Instead, he said, there is a desire to create corporate facilities in the downtown area.
Initially the idea was to save Impala Grill, located at 203 North Marble Street.
Soon the sound of hammers could be heard as renovation began at the site of the popular restaurant and adjacent property where Guy Sloan’s Service station was once located.
Workers began the task of remodeling the interior and building a third on the property, which was purchased by All Star Properties of Atlanta.
General contractor for the remodeling project was Randall Fincher, who remains on the job as more buildings have been purchased and renovation work begun.
The 1950s décor of Impala Grill has remained intact. The unique interior has become part of the memories passed down from one generation to the next as people recall things from the past, including old cars, gas company signs and figures of Elvis.
The entire building now comprises about 20,000 square feet of space, including the addition of a building where a car restoration area is located.
Three houses above the Impala Grill were purchased about 6 months ago. A park area has been created at that site. It features a gazebo, fire pit and walking paths. Shrubs and plants have also been added to the landscape.
Visible from the park area is a colorful mural painted by Charles Schmult, of Rome. It features a steam engine and water tank reminiscent of those seen in a bygone era.
The old building was completely renovated and now houses a car museum.
Schmult is also painting a mural on the side of a recent purchase, located at the intersection of Marble and Elm streets. It has been gutted and renovated. An addition will be build at the back of the structure, which will house a new ice cream shop where patrons can also find pizza, hot dogs, coffee and more.
Hopes are to that have it ready to open in July. Plans are to open the business seven days a week, but no announcement has been made about the hours.
Meanwhile, the sale of the former Rockmart Municipal Building, 200 South Marble Street, has been completed.
A bid, totaling $80,000, was presented to the City from All Star. The sale was later finalized.
No plans for the former municipal building have been announced. However, the Running Wild organization plans to utilize the structure that once housed a local bank.
Other purchases include the old Ford dealership building, located at the corner of Church Street. The service area is currently being used for vehicle maintenance.
Plans are to remodel the showroom for exceptional cars, according to Cooper.
Cooper said Rockmart officials have been supportive and helpful. “They are pleased with what we are doing here and share an interest in revitalizing the downtown area,” he said.
Curious residents have also indicated they are happy with the restoration work.
“Many of them have memories of the downtown area and share an interest in the preservation of the historic buildings,” he said.
Cooper said buildings purchased had something that captured the imagination and could be converted to fit into the organization’s corporate facilities model.
“Wow! That looks great!” is the normal response Cooper receives once a purchase is made and renovation work completed.