Our Stories:
News and Notes from Calvary

The Main-Court-4th-Washington Project

by Margaret Craddock

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:

  • Carolee Carlin, an International Paper employee, has a vision for installing art on the boarded up windows of the city-owned building at 247 Washington. She hopes to work with Trinity Lutheran and Shelby County Schools to liven up this drab property;
  • Ginny Strubing, Calvary, has chosen to develop a relationship with Shili Fan of NCE Realty, the group that plans to develop the hotel in the Old Police Station on Adams;
  • Mike Hammond, Calvary, will catalog all the city-owned property in the area, report any issues to 311, help coordinate any efforts to link Calvary’s block plans with St. Peter and think about ways to activate the sunken courtyard across from City Hall; 
  • Greg Spillyards, Commercial Advisors Realty, which is the newly appointed receiver of 100 N. Main, will keep the group apprised of the developments with that property as well as any activity on the Dermon Building;
  • Margaret Craddock, Calvary, will follow the plans for the Aloft Hotel at 161 Jefferson;
  • Jarad Bingham, The Hospitality HUB, has begun working on developing recreational space in the neighborhood that can serve the schools as well as the community;
  • Stan Hyland, St. Peter, will work with Fr. Augie, Leo Arnoult, and the congregation to improve the alleys around that congregation and perhaps name them for saints;
  • Tim Huebner, Calvary, hopes to work with Rhodes college and the city to bring new life to the Magevney House

Thanks to Calvary for making this possible. There is more to be done! Contact Margaret Craddock for more information.

Posted by Robyn Banks at 8:55 AM
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