LIMA — Legacy Sounds and Rustgaze Records, a little-known recording studio and record label founded in Lima, has big plans for a Legacy Arts District on Central Avenue.
Founder Omar Zehery believes arts and culture could make Lima more attractive to young professionals. So Zehery and his partner Kayla Nocera teamed up with Marc Bowker, owner of Alter Ego Comics, and Jennifer Brogee, co-owner of The Meeting Place on Market and Shop for Good, to convert a vacant property on Central Avenue into what they’re calling the Legacy Arts District.
The property, located at 207 S. Central Ave., will be the new home for Alter Ego Comics and Shop for Good along with Legacy Sounds and Rustgaze Records.
Plans are in the works to bring beer, live entertainment and other amenities, like a coffee kiosk from The Meeting Place, to the warehouse too.
The venue is located about one block from the Rotary Club’s proposed amphitheater park, an element Zehery hopes will help generate more interest in the downtown area.
“Creative economy is the economy of the future,” Zehery said. “So instead of (Lima) trying to play catch up, what we’re doing is developing this thing ourselves. It’s got this very punk rock, pirate mentality from a guerrilla kind of place. We’re going to do it with or without you.”
Zehery and Nocera see their venture as economic development, particularly targeting young professionals who have been leaving Lima.
“You constantly hear the buzzword brain drain, brain drain,” Nocera said. “I’ve heard it for years and they keep wanting to find out ways to fix it. Well, we have a solution and we have one that we know works, because it’s already caused friends of ours to come back and get involved. It’s caused friends of ours to not leave and stay so they can be a part of it.
“For the corporations that are looking to fill all these jobs and the hospital, when they’re bringing in families to possibly be in the residency program, people are looking at the town and saying, can I build a life here? Do I want to raise my kids here? And if you have an art culture in place, it makes it more appeal. It’s not enough to say there are jobs already here. They have to see a life here.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.