By Meg Dickens
Heritage Square is a relatively new concept. It is an area recognized by Mountain City that links local businesses and nonprofits that includes the Johnson County Library, Central Office, Heritage Hall Theatre, the Senior Center, the Community Center, the Taylorsville Masonic Lodge, the 4-H building, Johnson County Tax Assessor building, and the Arts Center. Beautification was the original goal, but more important issues became evident.
“We formed this group of tenants with the mission of doing some “beautification” – benches, lighting, signage, landscaping,” said Heritage Square Development Judy McGuire. “It wasn’t too long until we realized we needed to deal with the safety
issue before doing anything else.”
Members have been beautifying the area, but now safety is their priority. The alleyway joining Church Street and College Street is the first concern the group tackled. The alley is narrow, heavily traveled, and drivers are prone to speeding through it.
Those leaving the community center or the senior center have been in undue danger. There have been four near misses this year: one of which was last week. Heritage Square members took matters into their own hands. After talking to the tenants, they were able to turn the alleyway into a one-way road.
“We have had several incidents where someone could have gotten seriously injured while crossing the parking area,” said Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger. “This is a safety issue, and we need to enforce the one-way behind the Senior Center and the back entrance to Heritage Hall.”
McGuire notes that the city and county have been incredibly helpful. There are already signs in place, and the city agreed to paint arrows once the temperature makes it possible. The Square would like to add speed bumps eventually.
McGuire says that there will be more beautification during spring. One project the Square hopes to tackle is matching signage, which would make the area look clean and show where these different organizations and businesses are more clearly. Improvements can be
pricey, so members of the Square are looking for available grants.
“The timing is good, and the interest is there,” McGuire explained.
Keep an eye out for
future Heritage Square projects. For more information on Heritage Square or the one-way, contact Judy
McGuire at [email protected]