On Oct. 23, 40 diverse, interested people gathered in the Mural Room to learn about Calvary’s immediate neighborhood and to consider what we might do to make large and small improvements that can attract larger investments. The group enjoyed a box lunch, heard Calvary parishioner Tim Huebner’s history of the neighborhood, saw the exciting plans for Calvary’s block, fanned out in five groups to walk sections of the area, and then reconvened for a “what’s next” discussion led by Leo Arnoult of St. Peter Catholic Church. The participants were architects, educators, priests, nonprofit representatives, attorneys, anthropologists, planners, volunteers, developers, realtors, landscape architects, church members and staff, historians, property owners, downtown residents, business owners, and community volunteers. Each brought enthusiasm and a wealth of expertise.
All of the neighborhood’s assets were highlighted—the strong congregations that have attracted members for decades, the historical buildings on Adams, the interesting alleys that could be improved with art and activities, the new River Dogs Day Care on Court, the schools, the Magevney House and the Fire Museum, Burch Porter, and Court Square. These have stabilized the area for a long time, but all agreed that new challenges should be addressed. Some of the more manageable suggestions for doing this include installing art on buildings, activating dead spaces with plantings and food trucks, cleaning buildings, tracking planned property developments, and investigating city ordinances that can support improvement. The more challenging concerns are the 100 N. Main situation, the plans for at least five hotels in the area that show no visible activity, the virtual sea of surface parking lots, the shabby state of much of the city-owned property, and the long-vacant Sterick Building on B.B. King Ave.
To date, several participants have volunteered to help make a difference by championing a particular project. They are:
Thanks to Calvary for making this possible. There is more to be done! Contact Margaret Craddock for more information.