Grant to help Glass Street revitalization
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Momentum is building in the effort to revitalize one historic Chattanooga neighborhood. One organization, with the help of residents, is looking to breathe new life into Glass Street.
"It was the best place to live at that time."
Glass Street's empty store fronts and vacant buildings used to be filled with life.
"Years ago when I first moved here. There were grocery stores, dry cleaners," says Verlene Middlebrooks.
Middlebrooks is the vice president of the Glass Farm Neighborhood Association and has lived here for 26 years. She says she remembers the days of thriving business. But that all changed.
"The post office was down there. But the post office moved because they said they were having a lot of crime where people were breaking into their trucks and stuff," Middlebrooks.
Enter the Glass House Collective.
The organization set up shop on Glass Street in January to offer resources to residents. In April, Glass House held a neighborhood block party to bring attention to its efforts.
"Glass Street is a place to start. I mean, why not?"
Teal Thibaud and two others started the organization.
"Hopefully we have a few eager entrepreneurs and some great business plans to kind of occupy these vacant store fronts on Glass Street."
"Since they've gotten this $300,000 grant that may help us a lot," says Middlebrooks.
This month Glass House received a $300,000 grant. The money will go to artistic streetscaping, along with training for entrepreneurs.
"I think what they're trying to do is going to really help us in this area because prior to them coming no one knew where Glass Farm was or even where Glass Street was," says Middlebrooks.
Middlebrooks says she looks forward to putting Glass Street back on the map and urges everyone to help.
"Get involved. Go to your neighborhood association meetings, let them know what you need or what you want from your community. And stay committed to the project, because there's a lot of things that we could here but we can't do it with two or three people. We need more people."
Since May 30th, the Glass House Collective has been hosting a 10-week business planning course. Organizers say more than 15 entrepreneurs have already stepped forward with ideas to bring Glass Street back to life.