Blythe Oldfield, know to many as the neighborhood that built Cleveland has a rich industrial history. It was the first planned neighborhood and it provided homes to workers who carried the downtown manufacturing economy. However, Blythe Oldfield is physically disconnected from downtown. This is due to the railroad tracks and abandoned factory, which creates separation from the rest of the community.
The purpose of the “Blythe Oldfield Neighborhood Master Plan” is to reconnect downtown to it’s oldest neighborhood. In doing this, creating new meaningful places for all Cleveland residents. This plan will have positive economic and social impacts on the city.
The lots that lie along the flood stream between Blythe Avenue and Chippewa Avenue are currently residential. A few of these lots are now vacant and could be repurposed as a park. The plan for the Trail Park suggests removing vacant houses and creating a park to accompany a walking/bike trail along the flood plain stream. The purpose of the Trail Park is to provide a connection through the neighborhood, as well as a centralized civic space for residents to gather. It is suggested that there be a water fountain for passing bikers, runners and walkers and benches for a shaded place to relax. A “Little Free Library,” similar to the one at outside of the Family Support Center, could be included as a free book exchange between children and adults alike. A boat sandbox is also suggested as a fun, nautical-themed place for children to play.
The intersection of Aurora and Wilson Avenues has the potential to be an intimate public space excellent for block parties. The existing building should be rehabilitated and activated to be a shop, café, donation center, or other similar use to serve the community. The plaza could be delineated with bollards and trees and detailed with a pavilion, bistro lights and a “mountain stone” sculpture. Planting trees in the plaza will help hide these utilities. The featured commercial building is ideally designed and located to serve the neighborhood.
Lyndhurst Foundation is a philanthropic organization that identifies and invests in initiatives, institutions, people and programs that contribute to the long-term livability and resilience of the greater Chattanooga region.
City Fields is a Community Development Corporation devoted to providing programs, offering services and engaging in other activities that support community development in Blythe Oldfield.
Michael Watkins Architect, LLC is an urban design and architecture firm dedicated to designing and implementing a walkable, lasting and beautiful public realm that fosters community.