Our mission is to help revitalize the Mechanicsville neighborhood in Atlanta. Mechanicsville is like so many other older industrial neighborhoods in the US. At one time they were vibrant - alive with people and businesses. Over time, however, they have seen substantial disinvestment, leaving empty shells of industrial buildings and substandard housing. Crime rates tend to be higher because these areas are often poorly policed.
But these neighborhoods can come back. And we expect this one will do the same thing. But we want to try and make that happen without losing the flavor of the community, and the neighbors we are beginning to know. We don't want a "cookie-cutter" approach - so we are doing our best to meet the needs of the neighborhood and grow our business at the same time.
Our version of how to do this involves interacting directly with the neighborhood - making them part of the project. We play with the kids - we offer tours to anyone who wants to come through. We provide work for as many of the kids and guys in the neighborhood as we can. We wave, we smile. We treat our neighbors as our friends.
Construction of Artist Studios
Our next project is to build out several artist studios, so that we can begin to generate the revenue necessary to do our other programs. We expect to build approximately 20 studios in two of our buildings - and will train local residents to help us build them.
For this project, we'll need metal studs, floor and ceiling track, screws and fasteners, drywall, and materials to finish the hallway side of the studios. Our idea is to make this look like a street scene, so we will feature materials that make it look like a narrow alley. The studios on the right will be covered in brick panels, and the next studios will be wood.
Raised Bed Gardens
Atlanta, like many other large, urban areas, is a food desert. We'd like to help alleviate that problem, provide training and build community in the process. For this project, we need lumber, wood chips, soil, seeds and volunteer help. We are working to partner with a local farming non-profit, Patchwork City Farms, to create a series of raised bed gardens to provide training and space for people in the Mechanicsville neighborhood to grow vegetables. We are planning 30 raised beds, 3 feet X 12 feet each. The beds will be built from structural lumber harvested whenever possible from deconstructed buildings and will each be approximately 20" deep. This project will allow folks in our neighborhood to play an even greater role in our project, and will help to teach our kids about farming, cooperation, consistency and self-sufficiency.
The picture shown is from an urban farm in New Orleans.
Mechanicsville Farm Stand Project
We will provide training to some of the local homeless and disadvantaged residents so they can begin to help themselves in fixing up or building their own structures. The Farm Stand will be the first focus for this training effort, and we are anxious to give the neighborhood a chance to pitch in to build it.
For this project, we'll need lumber, tools, fasteners, and paint/stain.
The picture shown is a farm stand built by a team of students as part of an extremely successful project called "If you Build It", in North Carolina.