Thursday, September 20, 2012
Chattanooga could have something in common with world-renowned metropolitan cities like New York City, Paris and New Orleans if local architect David Barlew has his say.
He hopes the commonality will be the fact that they are all cities known for being great and for being made up of distinct vibrant neighborhoods. To help make that a reality, Barlew has partnered with the Glass House Collective to help revitalize the Glass Farm neighborhood on Chattanooga’s east side through a combination of design and community efforts.
“For us to have the strong city we want and can be proud of, we have to have strong neighborhoods,” said Teal Thibaud, communications and outreach director for Glass House Collective. “Glass Farm is just another neighborhood that will make our city better if we invest in it. Look at what the Aquarium, Ross’s Landing or the Walnut Street Bridge did for Chattanooga.”
Since The Glass House Collective embarked on its mission this spring to improve the neighborhood, it has already received a $300,000 ArtPlace grant, partnered with the American Institute of Architects state chapter to generate possible design concepts for the area and has now hired Barlew to streamline those plans.
From those plans, he has developed the “big five” ideas that were the most common suggestions in the plans presented at during the AIA program. Those five ideas include introducing more connectivity to the district, creating a safe walking path throughout the area, creating a street plaza for outdoor events, developing a neighborhood green space and building a place to play that either takes shape as a park or a playground.
Now that he has compiled and analyzed those plans, he is in the process of working with the collective’s community outreach coordinator Shawanna Kendrick to present the plans to the public and find out what they would like to see in the neighborhood.
“We want the community to inform us on how they want us to use those grant dollars,” said Thibaud.
One community meeting already took place earlier this month, and Kendrick said she is in the process of scheduling more so the entire neighborhood can be part of the visioning process. Anyone who lives in the Glass Farm area and is interested in hosting a meeting should contact her at email@example.com or 402-0565.
“This is a by-the-community-for-the-community project,” said Kendrick. “I’m big on action and it’s exciting that we’re to the point where we can do something. We’re not just talking about ideas, we’re implementing ideas.”
According to Thibaud, several other programs for this fall are already in the works to help achieve some quicker, lighter and faster solutions in the area. She said she couldn’t yet reveal the nature of those solutions, but anyone interested should stay connected with the Glass House Collective.
For more information visit www.glasshousecollective.org.