Location: Paul Davis Restoration Warehouse (2111 N. Liberty Street)
The purpose of this meeting was to highlight some of the exciting new projects developing in the community now. Representatives from The ARTery, Springfield Yoga Collaborative, and Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center were on hand to talk about their projects, as well as small (but crowd pleasing) plug for a new annual event: Jacksonville Porch Fest.
A trio of young singers showcased their talents to kick off the meeting, brought by The ARTery and Jeff Smith. Jeff explained how The ARTery plans to open an arts & cultural hub at the historic Armory building, at the intersection of Market & State Street (read about the history of this project here), and how they've been busy working with architects, contractors, the city, and other partners to hammer out a sound renovation plan for the neglected building. Flooding in basement is the biggest issue, and a solution is being sought to address it. A city estimate of $9 million dollars was given to a previous party interested in renovating the property, however that number may not be accurate. The ARTery plans to present a business plan to City Council in the next few months, and hopes to have obtained sole rights to the property by the Spring of 2015.
Next, Will Kaiser (owner) and Mary Tappouni (Breaking Ground Contracting) presented The Springfield Yoga Collaborative, which will be at 1st & Main (the former Pearl club site). The Yoga Collaborative will be much more than yoga, Will explained. Yoga will be it's center point, however plans include space for a coffee & juice bar, small art gallery, multi-purpose space, retail, outside gardens, and new parking facilities. The development will take place in three phases: 1st floor, 2nd floor, and outside property. Work is planned to begin within weeks, and the opening is tentatively set for Fall 2014. The importance of connection to community in the project was also emphasized, so the cost for yoga will be donation based, and community partners will be sought to weave into the fabric of the programming at the collaborative.
Christina Parrish, SPAR board member and resident, jumped in to mention a new event scheduled for Nov 8th, 2014: Jacksonville Porch Fest. The event is modeled after other popular porch fest's elsewhere, but would be the first in North Florida. The event showcases local music, unique architecture, and walkability by having more than a dozen musicians play on various porches around a compact area in the Springfield historic district. This year the event will be clustered in the southeast quadrant, near Confederate Park. Patrons enjoy a variety of live music while they walk from site to site. Food trucks and pop up retail are expected to be onsite as well.
Finally, Melanie Messer and Bill McQuilkin of the Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center, located at 1128 N. Laura Street, shared the services they provide to the public and revealed a rendering of their new building. The JSHC has been operating for 50+ years in Springfield, providing speech therapy and hearing assistance to children and adults alike. The current building is obsolete and the organization needs room to grow and modernize, so they're in the process of raising $2 million dollars to raze their current (non-contributing, non-historic) building and build a new Prairie architectural development on the same site. The design is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and Jacksonville's most famous architect, who called Springfield home, Henry J. Klutho. In addition to a new building, they plan to orientated the building more towards Klutho Park as well, which the current back side of the building over looks. They feel the park is a great asset and will be proponents of restoring the Hogans Creek park system.
At the end, a reminder about the Great Race coming through the neighborhood during the Main Street Cruise on June 28th was mentioned, and about dozen people raised there hands when the crowd was asked if their were new residents in attendance. About 85 people were present, standing room only.