1159 South Community Development Corporation Celebrates One-Year Anniversary with Yellow Springs Street Rising! Kickoff
The South Yellow Springs St. corridor, a historically vibrant African American main street in southwest Springfield, has experienced decades of disinvestment and now has several vacant lots. Times are, however, changing. In recent years, new businesses have started up and residents are excited about the corridor’s potential.
Guided by the results of its recent Community Engagement Survey, 1159 South is converting four vacant lots into community assets that will provide neighbors with new ways to gather, be inspired, have fun and become engaged with the positive change that’s happening here. 1159 South purchased the lots earlier this year from the Clark County Land Reutilization Corporation, also known as the land bank, and has developed conceptual drawings for the spaces that are fun, artful, and inspiring.
According to 1159 South’s co-founder, Lawrence Beavers, this is the beginning of the non-profit’s southwest Springfield revitalization mission that is being driven by community input. “Our strategy,” said Mr. Beavers, “is to focus on making significant improvements aligned with residents’ desires in concentrated areas that will have the most impact, starting with the highly visible South Yellow Springs St. corridor.” Board member Neal Browning added, “we expect these new community assets to anchor 1159 South’s plans for housing improvements and economic development on and near the corridor.”
The first project, Grand Harmony, sits at the intersection of West Grand Avenue and South Yellow Springs Street. This project will transform three vacant lots on nearly one-half acres into a beautifully landscaped community gathering space for people of all ages. Landscaping is planned for early August. Future plans include bright sunny porch swings called the Yellow Swings on Yellow Springs designed to bring new energy to the corridor. At Grand Harmony, once the pandemic ends, children will have space to play and neighbors will be able to meet up or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
The Innisfallen Inspiration Garden, located at the nearby intersection of Innisfallen Avenue and South Yellow Springs Street, will also break ground this month. Its planned features include landscaping, seating, and cultural elements. There will be a Walkway of Us, paved with bricks personalized by residents and south Springfield supporters. According to board member, Bobby Mims, “as we work together as a community, it is important to highlight the collective strength of the people in this city that I love, which is what the Walkway of Us is all about.”
The Innisfallen Inspiration Garden will also showcase stories of some remarkable people who have called south Springfield home. There are many such people to choose from, including courageous civil rights activist Dorothy Bacon, whose compassion for the plight of impoverished African-American children who passed by her West Grand Avenue home daily and anger at the larger community’s apparent indifference to their plight drove her into the heart of the civil rights movement; Davey Moore, who trained for international boxing fame in a garage on South Yellow Springs Street and never forgot his southwest Springfield roots; and Dr. Thomas Burton, who was born a slave, but grew to prominence as Springfield’s first African-American physician while also gaining distinction as an accomplished businessman, organizer, poet and writer.
With such strong roots and the strength and resilience of its current residents, southwest Springfield’s future is bright. 1159 South believes that bright and brilliant future starts now.
Ways to Help. If you are interested in supporting 1159 South’s mission to significantly improve southwest Springfield, there are many ways to help:
- Volunteer, buy a brick, sponsor a project, or make a financial donation at www.1159south.org
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to donate in-kind materials, space for events, or professional services
1159 South, founded on August 9, 2019, is committed to significantly improving the economic conditions of low-income residents, condition and appearance of housing and distressed places, and sense of community in south Springfield, Ohio through targeted investments in people and places. With the motto, “From the Community, For the Community,” 1159 South was founded by concerned citizens who love south Springfield, have a strong history of community service, and are committed to working in partnership with others to revitalize south Springfield for the children, young adults, families, seniors and generations to come. As a non-profit, 1159 South depends on local business sponsorships, in-kind donations, grants, and the generosity of individuals in the community to fulfill its mission. Visit us at www.1159south.org or on Facebook @1159south.
Phone: (937) 504-1259 (office)