July 19, 2008

Residents help revitalize historic Chestnut Hill area
TAG association cleans up and builds up neighborhood, while developers refurbish houses on Second Avenue
The Tennessean • July 18, 2008

When David Pritchard left behind his career as a film and television producer in L.A., he didn't do it because he wanted to leave the business.
He did it because he wanted a better place to live. And that's what landed him in Nashville's historic Chestnut Hill neighborhood, which he is helping to revitalize.
Formerly called the Cameron-Trimble neighborhood, the neighborhood has traditionally been known as a high-crime area. But the Trimble Action Group, a neighborhood association with the acronym TAG, pushed to have the name changed and the neighborhood cleaned up. Part of this effort has involved the work of several developers, who have been refurbishing some of the neighborhood's historic homes along Second Avenue South.
"Everybody is working together," said Pritchard, who has lived in the neighborhood 10 years. "The whole idea was to signal that the neighborhood is moving ahead with change and revitalization."
Jim Jacanin, a developer and a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty, said the neighborhood has homes built as late as the 1960s and as early as the 1800s "that slowly fell into disrepair."
"You've got a really interesting mix," he said.
Jacanin said the revitalization project has involved refurbishing about 15 homes.
Community gets repairs, walking track
Also, said Pritchard, the neighborhood received a Community Development Block Grant for more than $500,000 to help in the revitalization effort.
The neighborhood voted to use the funds to repair the homes of older, low-income residents. Repairs included new roofs for homes that leaked; new heating and air conditioning units; and new windows.
"We also built a walking track in the neighborhood for people to get exercise and (to) bring the community together," Pritchard said.
Pritchard said a lot of new residents are moving to the neighborhood, and "that's what the neighborhood needs."
But at the same time, he added, the goal is to keep the neighborhood's current residents and make it a better place for them.
New, old neighbors join together
Mark Buchanan, who lived in East Nashville for eight years, is among the residents who have moved to Chestnut Hill recently. He said he decided to move there because he was looking for a new home, and the ones in Chestnut Hill were in his price range and in a convenient location. Also, he said, he liked the character of the neighborhood and the quality of the homes.
All of his neighbors are friendly, said Buchanan. "I just like the feeling of the neighborhood."
George Taylor Sr. has lived in Chestnut Hill for three years, but is a longtime South Nashville resident. He also graduated from the former Cameron High School and studied business administration at Tennessee State University.
"I think they're fantastic," Taylor said about the changes. "This part of town is historic," he said, and he's glad to see it preserved.
Among the historic buildings in the neighborhood is St. Patrick's Church, built in 1890.
Taylor said the neighborhood has had its struggle throughout the years.
But he thinks in the next few years, people will say that the area has "improved immensely."

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