The Glass House Collective building served as a catalyst to kick-start the historic neighborhood's resurgence, which is getting a big boost thanks to a recent grant. (Staff photo by John Rawlston)

In the 1920s, Glass Street thrived. But the once-vibrant area eventually became little more than a route to connect the downtown area to Enterprise South. However, that is changing due to a resurgence in community support over the past several years.

Now, a $56,780 grant will add to the ever-building passion to revitalize the area.

Glass House Collective formed in 2012 to stimulate the revival of the area through artist-led and community-oriented projects, and projects have since spawned partnerships with a variety of community-centered organizations — including Habitat for Humanity, which received the recent grant.

The funding will mean money to kick-start a connector trail to the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park, much-needed repairs to homes of residents in need of financial assistance, the demolition and renovation of several blighted commercial spaces and more, said Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Grant Development Consultant Connie Fernandez.

The trailhead connector will give Glass Street residents direct access to the 73rd Pennsylvania Reservation Trail and the Sherman Reservation Trail, and involve benches, maps and more.

"They're looking to fund projects that are just the beginning of something bigger and better," Fernandez said.

The grant, she said, represents the power of community engagement and commitment to improve the Glass Street area. The money is coming from a $1.75 million donation from Lowe's that Habitat is portioning out to neighborhoods across the country.

The local grant will also help Habitat construct two new homes on formerly blighted or abandoned lots, bringing new homeownership to the area.

"By placing two new homeowners into the neighborhood, the base of engaged residents grows, providing additional boots on the ground who are interested in seeing the revitalization movement succeed," Fernandez said.

Though a timeline on each of the projects has not yet been established, the work is a continuation of what is already part of the revival mission for the area.

"Residents are eager to see additional changes regarding home repair, new construction, access to public places and the transformation of commercial space," she said. "This project allows Habitat of Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Area and our coalition partners, including Glass House Collective, to complete some significant projects that will enable neighborhood residents, and all Chattanoogans, to witness visible change in the area."