Our Year Together on Glass Street

Wow! What a year 2019 has been and we are grateful for every minute. It has been a year of learning, stretching, speaking out and coming together. It’s been a year of celebrating wins and showing up to make sure more are coming. As 2020 nears, Glass House Collective is walking into our 8th year in East Chattanooga continuing to support, listen and learn from the residents who are leading positive change for their community.

2019 began with neighbors learning new ways to watch out for their community and get things done by finding strong partners and allies. This appeared in small and large ways including a pop up traffic calming intervention on Wilder Street led by resident volunteer and leader, Gail McKeel.

We also learned early in the year that the former Harriet Tubman housing site was being rezoned to Manufacturing (M1) in preparation to attract a job-generating neighbor and create new opportunities in East Chattanooga.  Alongside many of our neighbors and friends, Glass House Collective joined a coalition of concerned organizations and residents to learn how to shape and present a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) to the new Tubman site tenant. After a few town halls and hands-on sessions, we’re heading into 2020 proud that the site prep was matched by solid community preparedness and we look forward to meeting the folks from the Nippon Paint USA in what will be the City’s 2nd largest development investment.

2019 was most definitely a year of growing pride in place with brand new house banners and yard signs installed on porches and on lawns all over Glass Farm. Our friendship and partnership with Habitat For Humanity also deepened this year, bringing $1 million in residential improvement projects.

This swell of pride couldn’t be contained in our neighborhood alone. Over the summer, residents also began telling their stories and raising their voices through the world renowned StoryCorps program who made a stopover in our neighborhood to record, preserve and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs.  Now, the real and raw stories of growing up in East Chattanooga can be heard around the world as a part of a national archive. We’re learning solidarity in what unites us across the miles.

This was also a big year for learning to raise our voices when issues impact our neighbors and our neighborhood. We’re learning to act collectivity for what’s important to us and we’re showing up! From the Tubman Townhalls, to residents electing new leadership for the Glass Farm Neighborhood Association, to GHC joining CALEB and completing the Chattanooga Arts Forward Initiative, this year proved that we are all in this together.

Through our partnership with CALEB, GHC launched SWAY: The People’s Guide to Community Organizing, and has already graduated our first cohort. Their Keys To Community Change mural project on Glass Street and performance at Glass Street Live has us feeling fired up about the Sway program in 2020.

Our artist-driven resident-led work continues to garner the attention of funders and collaborators all across the City. Thanks to the City Of Chattanooga’s NeighborRoots grant, a new multidisciplinary performance art piece was created about the history and potential of Glass Farm.

Glass Street Live came alive like never before this year thanks to the new planning committees who know its also important to organize around celebration and fellowship. Neighbors collaborating on our beloved block party, as well as Mayfest and seasonal street decorations, only strengthens relationships and motivates everyone to work collectively on our shared vision and values.

Looking forward we are excited to see new property owners and businesses opening on Glass Street and we can’t wait to meet for coffee at Miss Betty’s All Good cafe and book store. We’re all excited to see the Save-A-Lot site take shape.

Imagining what’s possible for the public spaces we all share is always on our mind and we were proud to be selected by the Project For Public Spaces to host STIR IT UP, a workshop at our offices during the International Placemaking Conference in Chattanooga this Fall.  As we look to identify new projects for Glass House Collective in the coming year, we are warmed by all the good energy and support we received again during Giving Tuesday in December.

Here Because We Love It Here.

What could be better than that?


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