Springfield nonprofit celebrates anniversary with work on new ‘relaxation spaces'

Volunteers from the 1159 South Community Development Corporation work on a new community space at the intersection of South Yellow Springs Street and Innisfallen Avenue Friday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A south Springfield nonprofit is celebrating their one-year anniversary with the start of two new community spaces.

“We hope these projects will bring a renewed sense of pride in the neighborhood,” 1159 South Community Development Corporation Co-Founder and President Lawrence Beavers said. “We hope that it inspires people to want to see the neighborhood uplifted and do better in the neighborhood.”

The 1159 South Community Development Corporation was established on Aug. 9, 2019 when Beavers and Lori Searcy, siblings who grew up on the south side of Springfield, noticed a need for revitalization along South Yellow Springs Street.

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Beavers explained that they initially were only going to fix up their grandmother’s house at 1159 South Yellow Springs Street, but thought if they only did that they weren’t really contributing to revitalizing the community.

This past year, the nonprofit talked with residents and community leaders to find out what was needed on the south side of Springfield.

According to the nonprofit’s community engagement survey, 18 percent of local residents thought the most important needs in the community were repaired streets and improved vacant properties and housing. Another 13 percent thought community engagement and an improved or new grocery store were the most important needs.

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Searcy explained that the community engagement survey results were tabulated at the end of last year before the Kroger on South Limestone Street closed. She said that she expects the need for a new grocery store to show up as “an even higher priority” when 1159 South does its next survey.

The survey results prompted the nonprofit to design two community “relaxation spaces” at four previously vacant lots purchased from the Clark County Land Re-utilization Corporation, Beavers said.

1159 South Community Development Corporation will break ground on a new community space this weekend in Springfield called Grand Harmony. The space is located at the intersection of West Grand Avenue and South Yellow Springs Street.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

The first community space located at the intersection of West Grand Avenue and South Yellow Springs Street is called Grand Harmony. The three previously vacant lots will have porch swings, a play area, a picnic area, a barbecue grill and a small shed with tools in it that the community can borrow, Beavers explained.

The other project, The Innisfallen Inspirational Garden located near the intersection of Innisfallen Avenue and South Yellow Springs Street, will feature three patio areas and a walkway of bricks personalized by residents and south Springfield supporters called the Walkway of Us, Beavers added.

1159 South Community Development Corporation will break ground on a new community space this weekend in Springfield called Innisfallen Inspirational Garden. The space is located near the intersection of Innisfallen Avenue and Yellow Springs Street.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

Board Member Bobby Mims said, “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 landscaping, hardscaping and the first section of the Walkway of Us was expected to be completed over the weekend, Searcy said. The nonprofit will continue to work on the two projects in the coming months.

“We want to work with everybody we can work with in order to better the south side of Springfield – that is our hope, that is our goal,” Beavers said.

For more information, visit www.1159south.org.

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