CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The new year quickly will see four new businesses opening around First Street Square.
An upscale consignment furniture and home decor store, a restaurant, a bridal shop and a quilt shop all are expected to open in January.
The new businesses, housed in historic locations around the new park in the Five Points area, are opening while work continues at the old railroad depot.
First Street Square, with its parking, open green space and outdoor amphitheater, opened last summer and became the home for the downtown farmers market.
"When we opened First Street Square last summer, we predicted it would open up opportunities," Mayor Tom Rowland said. "The square can be a place for all kinds of outdoor events and attractions."
Susan Hyder, owner of Hyderhangout Inc., a quilt and fabric store opening on First Street, said, "We are all excited about what is going on around us."
"There is talk -- long term -- about some kind of excursion train from Chattanooga," she said.
Her store, which moved from its first location a block away on the opposite side of the street for more space, officially opens today, but the welcome mat already was out last week.
"Four times the space," Hyder said. "My customers are coming in and asking, 'Did you have all this before?' Well, most of it."
Hyderhangout, which faces across the park toward the Museum Center at Five Points, offers classes and club meetings, all focused on the fabric arts. The information is at the website www.Hyder hangout.com.
ReDecor & More, an upscale consignment furniture and interior decor work, will be open Tuesday.
Owners Kelly Calhoun and Lou Clark said the downtown area is primed for growth.
"This is such a heavily traveled area. It's the gateway to the Ocoee and the mountains," Calhoun said. "It's an area ready for renewal."
The women were looking for a downtown spot for their business when they came across their store location, which faces Inman Street across from the Museum Center but also will open toward the park.
"We feel like we were led here," Calhoun said.
Shortly after First Street Square opened, the downtown farmers market moved to the park, and a popular workshop on how to make rain barrels was conducted there.
Meanwhile, the appearance of the old depot already is changing. The front facing King Edward Street has a new landscaped bank next to the street.
On Jan. 13, bids will be opened for a construction and engineering inspector for the work on the building, said Melinda Carroll, assistant city manager.
Since federal stimulus money, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is being used to restore the depot to be used as a city bus terminal under the Southeast Tennessee Human Resources Agency, the position is required to be filled first, Carroll said. Then the restoration work will go out for bids.
Contact Randall Higgins at email@example.com or 423-314-1029.