Glass House Collective hosted a series of community visioning meetings from May 2013 to July 2013. We had over 150 residents participate and share their ideas and hopes for the future of Glass Street. The overall consensus was to work together to make Glass Street more clean, safe, and inviting. The information was collected and compiled into a technical streetscape plan by David Barlew Architects. In the plan, we made recommendations for a pocket park, green space improvement areas, tree wells, streetlights, crosswalks and more. Fortunately for us, Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE) and Trust for Public (TPL) land secured a grant to fund a pocket park in a neighborhood that’s expressed interest. Since Glass House had just been through the community engagement process and a pocket park on Glass Street was an idea that continued to rise to the top, the two organizations decided to make the community’s wish a reality.
TPL’s urban park initiative called “Parks for People” aims to ensure every person has an open space within a 10 minute walk from his or her home. This initiative aligns with CNE’s mission of building livable neighborhoods. The two organizations set out to achieve their goal to convert an abandoned; tax repossessed, or blighted property into a usable, safe and healthy pocket park.Once TPL and CNE agreed to invest in Glass Street, Glass House Collective suggested that the group use an architect firm that could bring a unique artistic element to the park design.
Palmer Built Environment Architecture firm did a fantastic job taking an overgrown lot and positioning it into a one-of-a-kind park for all ages to enjoy. In approaching the design of the Glass Street Park , Palmer Built Environment had three main ideas. First, maximizing the use of the space to accommodate different activities from play to relaxation and entertainment to ensure the mark was multi-generational. The architects also wanted to use second life materials, and in this case incorporated rail lines, as homage to our rail heritage in East Chattanooga. They also felt there should be strong recognition and distinction to the park, that designed elements would be used as a reference and for memory. The establishment of the name, “flying rails” can become a directional phrase, “I’ll meet you at the flying rails,” or, “you know, the folks down there next to the flying rails.” It becomes a point of neighborhood pride when it’s something that is recognizable, memorable and unique.
We will keep you posted on a park construction timeline.