Glass Street Ready to Come Alive

Stores won’t be vacant anymore. There will be trees along the sidewalks. People will be walking up and down the street.

For one day this Feb. 23, Glass Street will come alive in the way that local leaders are working to implement permanently in the area. This one-day project is part of a Better Block initiative that will give neighborhood residents and community members a chance to be a part of Glass Street revitalization.

“It’s basically going to be a test drive of the future,” said Glass House Collective Director of Outreach and Communications Teal Thibaud.

In order to successfully implement the event, which will include live music, food vendors, kids activities, local art, a community resource center and pop-up shops, she said Glass House Collective is looking for local partners to pair with residents of the neighborhood.

“We want people in the community to pick a project they would like to be a part of,” said Thibaud. “We are asking them to champion those events. If they champion an event, I have a group of local people that have inquired about helping with this that we will pair with them.”

She said she has already paired a local architect with people in the neighborhood interested in carpentry for one project and helped a Glass Street neighborhood resident prepare to open a flea market shop during the event.

As the event approaches, Thibaud said the collective and the neighborhood need more people to help participate in the event. The collective is hosting additional preparation meetings Mondays, Jan. 28 and Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. and work days Monday, Jan. 21 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Saturdays, Feb. 2 and 16 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“It’s going to take all of Chattanooga’s parts to rise this place up,” she said.

In addition to helping coordinate the Better Block initiative on Glass Street, the collective has also worked with the city and through a $300,000 ArtPlace America grant it received to bring additional lights to the street and bus stop covers to the area.

Before deciding on these projects, Thibaud said the collective surveyed as many as 500 area residents to determine their needs and desires for the neighborhood.

“The top priorities for this community are things that other communities already have,” she said. “They just want to be a healthy, normal community.”

The new lights and bus stop covers will help people feel safer and more comfortable as they travel around their neighborhood, she said. Unfortunately, Thibaud said, these things will take time to implement, so the Better Block initiative is a way to keep people energized and excited while those projects come to fruition.

This article was written by Rachel Sauls for the TFP Community News.

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