Oak Street Center for the Arts
The redevelopment first started as a brownfield with several old, worn down buildings and torn up land in between. The buildings were dirty and crumbling, but a few of them showed potential. The area is surrounded by Franklin park to the North and Rainbow Park to the South. There is a one-way street (Kelton Avenue) running South to North on the West side of the brownfield, an alley North of the site, and Oak Street along the South edge of the brownfield. The neighborhood has many Churches, a couple parks and stores all ready, so we focused on what the area needs and will use.
We plan to revitalize the long building on the Western most edge of the property into a multi-use space. Half of it will be an artist studio with a very open, industrial design. This space will be used for trades such as pottery and glass work. There will be a wall separating the studio space from the other half, which will be used as an event space. In this event space there will be a built in bar/prep kitchen to be used for events. There is access to an outdoor patio of the Eastern side of the building. We see this event space being used for occasions such as galleries, banquets and wedding receptions.
For the building on the Eastern edge of the brownfield, we have the idea to restore it and use the space for a dance studio and music school. The studio will have a few different dance rooms, a viewing area, staff rooms and closets for costume/prop storage. The music school will have several rooms that are sound proof, offices, storage for instruments and a waiting area for parents. Since the neighborhood is mostly residential we predict these institutions being busy during after school hours as parents will sign their kids up for the programs.
We are keeping two additional buildings from the brownfield. These are the two small buildings located in the middle of the Southern edge. We have designated these buildings as artisan restaurants such as a bakery or wine and cheese eatery. There will be intimate outdoor space that includes a patio with plants and art from the art studio. The restaurants will feel very local, warm and friendly.
A new development we are adding is a residential unit on Northwestern corner of the field. There will be 8 townhomes with 2 families per house. The design will replicate that of row houses further East of Oak Street. The homes are facing the studio with green space in the front and back. Since the houses are similar to those around it, the cost will be in the same price range of them. The medium density and smaller size of the residential units will make sure the houses are affordable for the income of the neighborhood. Parking for the units is provide to the East of the development.
The main entrance to the site will be on Oak Street, with an additional entrance on Kelton Avenue. Traffic will be controlled with one-way streets separated by medians with green space. The parking will consist of large concretes squares with grass in between. This controls water runoff, and also gives the option of using this lot for event space if desired. There will also be diagonal off street parking South of the dance/music school. The development will be very pedestrian friendly as we want to encourage surrounding residents to spend time and walk around the area.
The design of the buildings from the brownfield we are keeping will be preserved, and the new residential unit will look like others in the neighborhood. The row houses will be two floors and the existing developments will stay the way they are. We want the buildings to match those of the surrounding area because we want to keep the identity of the area and promote community.
We expect positive response from the neighborhood because the Oak Street Center for the Arts will promote local culture and municipality. The arts are a great way for kids and adults alike to express themselves, and our development is the perfect accessory. The skills and talents the kids have the chance to learn are important because they can provide excellent opportunities for their future such as scholarships and jobs. This is important in lower income areas because it gives the kids hope and motivation.
Redeveloping historic sites is a great way to preserve culture and community in a neighborhood. They create great spaces for people to gather and share experiences. These spaces can often become the heart of a community and the identifying element of a town.