A group of concerned citizens, including one city councilman, wants a commitment from Mayor Tommy Bragg and the Murfreesboro City Council to redevelop historic Maney Avenue.
“It’s one of the oldest streets in town,” Maney Avenue Committee member George Gardner said. “It would be a good tourist attraction.”
A trip down Maney Avenue in downtown Murfreesboro goes from the Discovery Center at Murfree Springs to Oaklands Historic House and Museum, two of the city’s best tourist draws. On this trip, visitors get two strikingly different views of the city ranging from antebellum homes on North Maney to run-down properties on South Maney.
“That whole area needs to be cleaned up, not just Maney Avenue but the adjoining streets,” Gardner said. “But you’ve to start someplace.”
The committee requested the city to invest time and money on infrastructure to help upgrade this section of town, particularly the section between Main and Broad streets.
“This committee wants to get the city to make this come to fruition and with cooperation from property owners this could happen,” said Ron Washington, a committee member and councilman.
The drainage on Maney Avenue is the one issue business owner Cornelia Weatherly wants the city to fix first. Weatherly owns Maney Avenue service station, which has set on the corner of South Maney and Vine Street for 37 years. She said the street flooded four times last year. And when the street floods, water breaches the service station.
“There’s a big drainage problem from Main Street to Broad Street. While the city is doing that why not put in sidewalks and underground utilities,” Gardner asked.
The committee would like for the city to make all the upgrades at the same time, instead of possibly three construction phases, Gardner explained.
Washington said the city does plan to fix the drainage problem on the street, but it takes time and resources to develop a strategy to tackle the problem. He hopes construction will start sometime next year.
But it’s about more than fixing drainage and giving the street a face-lift, Washington explained.
“It’s about infrastructure redevelopment between the Discovery Center and Oaklands, which may spur some reinvestment from the community,” Washington said, who along with Weatherly see the contrast between North and South Maney Avenues.
“The old houses need fixing up,” Weatherly said about South Maney Avenue. “Some might be able to afford it, some might not, the city needs to appropriate the money to fix them.” She said residents did a good job of fixing the houses on North Maney, and wants to know why the same can’t be done south of Main Street.
Washington wants the community of South Maney, not just the city, to step up and help reinvent this historic street.
“I’m trying to get support from the ministerial group for the Maney Avenue Redevelopment Coalition,” Washington said. “Ministers provide leadership and they also bring their congregation with them. “Our plan is for them to form an arm and help with the redevelopment,” Washington explained.
He has organized a July 21 workshop at the Patterson Community Center for local pastors to address issues like drug abuse, violence, education and a lack of family values.
Once these issues are addressed, the councilman hopes the pastors can mobilize their congregations and pool resources the help rebuild parts of Murfreesboro’s downtown community, including South Maney Avenue.
“We are trying to hold that area together and trying not to let it slip into what it was five years ago,” Washington said. “(To do this) we need to continue to bring in holistic people who care about the neighborhood.”