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Riverview District and Spring Street designs discussed

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2024 at 8:10 am


View down S. Spring St. looking south. (Designs by Studio 8)

The Shelbyville square is a historical and architectural gem.

But the square is undergoing a major transformation. What makes the square attractive will not change, but will be enhanced by the additions planned and those underway already.

Members of the Shelbyville City Council were provided with a major update on the design of the proposed Riverview District by Matt Taylor and his Studio 8 design staff members Lauren White and Davis Phillips.

Studio 8 provided slides at the February study session of the City Council showing some of the places they studied in several cities in order to develop the Riverview plan.

There will be a welcome entry sign, open seating, market space, a potential natural area and a venue for live music, all overlooking the Duck River.  A designated open area has been proposed at the end of the Spring Street walk way to provide space for events.

A trail, overlook, and fountain are also possible elements of the project.

The presentation by Studio 8 was well-received by the council members and city administrators.

Enhancing this planned development are two new business ventures connected to the proposed area – the Glass Hollow Table and Tavern and the Bedco Investment Properties, including Grindstone Cowboy. The two buildings will anchor the entrance to the walkway to the river.

“The City of Shelbyville appreciates the investment made by the owner of The Glass Hollow Table and Tavern and Bedco Investments,” Shelbyville Mayor Randy Carroll said. “The buildings were in need of renovation and an awakening on that corner of the Shelbyville Square. These owners are giving life to those buildings using their own funds and hard work.

“With the development of these buildings and the City’s plan for a Riverwalk and Overlook we anticipate increased pedestrian activity in the Riverview District. The  design  for  this area will  include closure  and  development of  South Spring Street   for events, gatherings  and access  to  foot traffic only.  We view this as a scenic and safety improvement for this area.”

Promoting the city and tourism

 Beth Davis, along with her husband Mike and Mindy and Craig Campbell, owners of Grindstone Cowboy in Eagleville, Tennessee, form Bedco Investments LLC. Beth is excited about all of the planned activities in the river area.

 “We have an exciting revitalization underway on the square with the multi-million dollar investments including, the Riverview buildings, which includes Grindstone Cowboy, Glass Hollow‘s projects, The Capri Theatre, Classic Hops, Audrey’s, Success Hub and the commitments from many merchants to enhance their facades and businesses,” Davis said. “The Riverview District, Overlook and River Walk will be a pathway that encourages exploration of all businesses on and off of the square and one of the most prized resources in Bedford County, the Duck River.”

On many levels, there is a strong interest in promoting Shelbyville and Bedford County as a tourist destination. Davis sees the City’s development of the Riverview District as a prime impetus for meeting that goal.

“It will be an initiative that will put the City of Shelbyville and Bedford County’s Historic Courthouse and square on the ‘places to visit’ map and create endless opportunities for community engagement for everyone,” Davis said.

View down S. Spring St. looking north. (Designs by Studio 8)

Tweaking the proposal

While the general response to the concepts of the Riverview District were favorable, at the request of Shelbyville City Manager Scott Collins, Davis, Jeb House of Glass Hollow Table and Tavern, and Craig and Mindy Campbell have been meeting with the Studio 8 design team to tweak the plans that were presented at the study session.

“They want us to be involved and be included because of the investments we are making with our businesses,” House said. “They want to know how it could affect our businesses from one corner to the other and the aesthetics of it.”

Davis explained we began conversations with Studio 8 in October and had follow-up meetings in December and January prior to Studio 8 making their presentation to the City Council.

“The initial meeting was a discussion with us (Bedco Investments, LLC) and Glass Hollow and Tavern to identify the scope of our projects,” Davis said. “From there, they took all that information and included it in their first design scheme or what they felt it could be.

“The two follow-up meetings allowed us to share our thoughts and tweak the plan.” Davis stressed the River District project is still in the beginning stages.

“We have a projection of our vision, but as we go through the construction process, these visions may change and require modifications,” Davis said.

Chavigny Beasley, owner of Glass Hollow Table and Tavern, was pleased to see the plan to limit Spring Street to pedestrian traffic. Davis agrees it is a plus for both businesses.

“When we started working on Glass Hollow we had the idea it would be neat to be able to shut down Spring Street and have a pedestrian walkway,” Beasley said. “The outdoor space will be inviting to families. I feel like it will pull a lot of people here.”

The functionality of the district has been of prime importance to House during these meetings.

“We really need this main throughway down Spring Street so folks can come in to our tavern from the courtyard about halfway down Spring Street or they can walk on up to our steakhouse ,” House said. “To have a dedicated space for vendors to set up for big events and have a dedicated space for them will also help Grindstone as well.”

Davis also thinks limiting Spring Street to pedestrian traffic is a plus for the Bedco Properties/Grindstone as well the entire area.

“It will be a huge attraction that adds a unique element to the square and connects the Riverwalk, the Fly Arts Center, and other businesses not directly on the square,” Davis said. “It is a great opportunity to pull all of these pieces together and encourage community engagement.”

Retail, food vendors and other activities will be included along Spring Street. Green space will be available for events such as concerts or large family gatherings with plans to allow people to be able to go to the overlook and walk along the river.

Another concern is the choice of materials used to create the Riverview District from building areas to the paths.

“Cobblestone has been mentioned as well as brick pavers like we already have around the square,” House said. “I don’t think we will want something that is too much for the area.

“We plan to have a fair amount of out-of-town eaters coming to Glass Hollow as a destination. We are in need of an area to develop a great atmosphere. We would like people to want to bring their families here for something special such as an outdoor concert.”

The entrance, similar to the design of Printer’s Alley in Nashville, is also considered a plus.

“The sign designating the Riverview District will be key to defining the space and adding to the already unique design of the historic Shelbyville Square,” Davis said.

Davis, Beasley and House want the district to be attractive to local residents, but they want it to be a destination for visitors as well.

“We want the Shelbyville Square, the Riverview District, and Riverwalk, as well as all of Bedford County and Shelbyville, to become a destination; our community is a hidden gem that has so much to offer to its citizens and tourists,” Davis said.

Beasley stresses there is great excitement about not only her new business, but the Riverview District as well.

“It can bring a lot of people from all different counties that touch Bedford County,” Beasley said. “It will be a destination for everyone to come to the Riverview District.”

“It is going to be exciting for the city. We are looking forward to it.”