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While funding for the second phase of the Dixie Highway corridor is making its way through state government, the Southwest Dream Team is turning its attention to New Cut Road. The Metro Council recently finished a New Cut-Taylor Boulevard Corridor Study that includes recommendations for retail development. Part of any master plan will include redeveloping the site of the Iroquois Homes housing project. The federal government has demolished most of the buildings, and Jarboe says they are willing to sell the land cheap. The Southwest Dream Team is trying to find a developer to renovate the site for retail and/or medical use.
The Metro Council has also funded a reuse study of Colonial Gardens, a former social club on the corner of New Cut and Kenwood Drive. The property has been empty since 2003. Local residents had the property landmarked in 2008 to prevent a developer from tearing it down, and many are hoping it will become a sit-down restaurant to complement the resurgent Iroquois Amphitheater.
The Southwest Dream Team’s third priority is the Southwest Greenspace, which involves improving the signage and greenery throughout the South End.
Barbara Nichols, president of the Iroquois Area Business Association, says the Southwest Dream Team has been a good partner to other organizations in the area. Nichols says everyone wants the same thing, but there are disagreements about how to get there. She welcomes the help of the Southwest Dream Team because of the group’s connections and business acumen.
“People come to neighborhood meetings if they are against something or for something,” Nichols explains. “Once their issue is resolved then they lose interest in the process. The Southwest Dream Team is looking at improving the whole area and they stay focused. To be an all-volunteer organization they’ve done a tremendous amount of work.”
Jarboe says the Southwest Dream Team doesn’t plan to rest on its laurels. A city study done at the end of the Abramson administration found that South End residents spend nearly $800 million shopping or eating in other parts of the city. Jarboe believes that economic power should attract more retailers to the area once the recession is finished.
“I can’t think of any other area with 125,000 people that doesn’t have a clothing store, a white table cloth restaurant or a bookstore,” Jarboe marvels.