A Tree Grows on Glass Street : The Barlew Blog
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David Barlew Architects is a Chattanooga-based architecture firm founded in 1978 by David Barlew, Sr. Our diverse practice has experience in the design and renovation of mixed-use developments, schools, offices, commercial centers and medical facilities. Local projects designed by David Barlew Architects in the past 5 years include Renaissance Square, a two story, mixed-use building completed in 2008 on Martin Luther King Boulevard by The 28th Legislative District Community Development Corporation; the Temporary Twelve-Bed Intensive Care Unit at Erlanger Hospital; Sing It Or Wing It, a karaoke bar and restaurant in downtown Chattanooga (interior design by Christi Homar); and the Auditorium Building Renovation and Addition at Cleveland State Community College for the Tennessee Board of Regents. David Barlew Architects has also volunteered time for the Brainerd Road Corridor Master Plan, a nearly three year long community-led initiative to improve the Brainerd Community of Chattanooga.

David Barlew Architects, Inc. is a member of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.




A Tree Grows on Glass Street

by David Barlew, Jr. on 03/11/14


Photo by David Barlew, Jr.


Photo by David Barlew, Jr.


Photo by David Barlew, Jr.

On Friday, March seventh, Glass Street got its first tree!

At a party organized by Glass House Collective to celebrate Arbor Day, attendees took part in literally planting new life on Glass Street. Friday's planting was the beginning of the next major step in Glass Street's incredible renaissance.

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The transformation of Glass Street continued the following day. Thanks to a team of over one hundred volunteers, less than one hour's work last Saturday transformed Glass Street from a treeless strip to a commercial corridor lined with new ginkgos and maples.



Photo by David Barlew, Jr.

Glass Street now has trees! The little saplings don't look like much right now. But, in a few weeks, when they are leafed out and green, the new trees will make Glass Street so much more attractive and inviting.



Photo by Glass House Collective

The tree planting event started at ten that morning on Glass Street with the arrival of volunteers. The group started small, but kept growing. After a bus of two of high school students arrived, Glass House Collective had a small army of volunteers at its disposal.



Photo by Glass House Collective

Chattanooga City Forester, Gene Hyde, organized and managed Saturday's project. He divided the throng of volunteers into eight tree-planting teams, and his own team of helpful city employees provided each group with all of the tools and supplies necessary to plant the trees: a box cutter, a bolt cutter, two shovels, two bags of mulch, and a rake. A very knowledgeable city employee then instructed everyone on the correct way to plant and mulch a tree.



Photo by Glass House Collective

With tools in hand and planting instructions fresh in their minds, the teams quickly set about planting the trees on Glass Street.



Photo by Gail McKeel

I was a member of the Good Neighbor Network team. (I swear we didn't just stand around all morning; we really did plant three trees!) Thanks to the fact that city employees had already placed the balled trees in the new treewells, the planting process was pretty simple. We had to level the trees in the wells and remove the protective wrapping from their trunks and root balls using the box cutters and bolt cutters. Next, we removed the excess soil from the tops of the rootballs to reveal the trees' natural root flares. Finally, we filled in the holes and mulched the trees. With so many volunteers, the process took almost no time at all. 

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Photo by Gary Hamilton



Photo by Gary Hamilton

To commemorate and celebrate the planting of the trees on Glass Street, which is a tremendous accomplishment for Glass House Collective, the neighborhoods near Glass Street, and, really, the city as a whole, Glass House Collective and Glass Street's Good Neighbor Network hosted an Arbor Day observance party the day before on Friday, March seventh.



Photo by Gary Hamilton

The event kicked-off with a friendly welcoming by Nori Moss, the Coordinator for the Good Neighbor Network, and an informative introduction by Jon Nessle, Chair of the Chattanooga Tree Commission.

Photo by Gary Hamilton


Photo by Gary Hamilton

Chattanooga City Forester, Gene Hyde, then delivered a brief history of Arbor Day and explained the origin of the holiday. The City Forester also explained why trees are important in urban areas, highlighting trees' ability to lower power bills, stabilize and beautify neighborhoods, and clean the air. Of course, trees do much more than that; more information about the benefits of trees can be found here and here.


Photo by Gary Hamilton

The reading of the Tennessee State Arbor Day Proclamation by City Councilman Yusuf Hakeem echoed those sentiments. The proclamation declares that "the planting and proper maintenance of landscape trees enhances the economic vitality of business areas, increases property values, cuts heating and cooling costs, moderates the temperature, cleans our air, beautifies our communities, and improves our quality of life." The Tennessee State Arbor Day Proclamation can be read in full here.


Photo by Gary Hamilton

Officials from the Tennessee Division of Forestry were on hand to present the Tree City USA Award to the City of Chattanooga.


Photo by Gary Hamilton

Before concluding with a formal acceptance of the trees by Glass House Collective's Chairman of the Board, Peter Murphy, the Arbor Day celebration featured a tree dedication delivered by the Good Neighbor Network's Dale Grisso.  "We dedicate the trees today towards the grass roots effort underway here on Glass Street. Our neighbors have been working hard on making Glass Street more clean, safe, and inviting over the past two years, and we are excited to plant these trees to continue to bring life back to Glass Street and Glass Street back to life."

And coming back to life it is!


Plan by David R. Barlew Architects, Inc..

In the fifteen months since Glass House Collective released the streetscaping plan designed by David Barlew Architects, Glass Street has been living through a dramatic physical transformation.


Photo by David Barlew, Jr.



Photo by Glass House Collective

In December, the city of Chattanooga gave Glass Street new pedestrian street lights for Christmas.


Photo by David Barlew, Jr.

And, now, Glass Street has trees given by the Chattanooga Tree Commission, placed by the department of public works, and planted by teams of volunteers.

 

Change is coming fast to Glass Street, and I am so thankful to have been involved in its renaissance as Glass House Collective continues its work to "bring life back to Glass Street and Glass Street back to life."

Comments (2)

1. _emily_rose said on 3/12/14 - 05:37AM
This is such an awesome project! Y'all are doing a great job. This is one of those projects where I can tell everyone has their heart in the right place, and it's great to see so many people coming together!
2. David, Jr. said on 3/12/14 - 06:01AM
Thank you for your comment, Emily! I agree; I think everyone does have their heart in the right place. Working on Glass Street has been incredibly rewarding. When we were done with the tree planting, I commented that there should be an event like this every Saturday in one of the city's neighborhoods. It would be a great community-building exercise that would encourage people to meet each other and build relationships both within individual neighborhoods and across the city. It would also improve our city and improve our neighborhoods. The program could hop all over the city; maybe build a picnic pavilion in East Brainerd one Saturday, build a community garden in Hixson the following weekend, and plant trees in Highland Park the Saturday after that. Judging by the number of people who came out on Saturday, people like this kind of thing; we should capitalize on that interest.


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