Julie Carter

Julie Carter from Thrive Community gives a presentation on Nov. 14 outlining the Catalytic Project, which will involve building a mobile stage and park that can be moved to different parts of the community.

Thrive Communities’ Julie Carter gave a presentation to the LaFayette City Council outlining locally-driven economic plans for the catalytic project.

The project will involve building a mobile stage/park that can be moved to different areas of the community. It will be called the Queen Bee Hive. The stage could be used for music concerts, teaching art and even be rented out for weddings and different events.

“This is about weaving arts into our development plans, our design structures, and cultivating and nourishing them,” said Carter, who is a member on the Downtown Development Authority.

This project is being backed by the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga. This foundation is responsible for helping and supporting Chattanooga find its new identity, such as the Chattanooga Aquarium and the majority of the art projects that can be seen there.

“Thrive” is a community accelerator program that the city of LaFayette applied for. LaFayette is one three cities to receive a $20,000 grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation.

After a 10-month process, the Thrive team with the support of the LaFayette City Council did some experiments in town to see how the community would respond to improvements that could be made to the city.

“Part of our vibrancy strategy is saying, ‘It’s not what we may be, but what we want to be,’” Carter said.

‘From Marsh to Mars’ event

On April 13, Thrive launched the “From Marsh to Mars” event that tested the “walkability” of the city and gave the people who attended an opportunity to offer feedback about what they loved and disliked about the city.

“A lot of things that came up were West LaFayette and the other side of the tracks. We want to join those tracks. People want to feel connected,” Carter said.

‘What Could Bee?’

The large canvas that was hung up on the square in front of a collapsed building was another project of Thrive. The banner asked the question in large letters, “What Could Bee?” The “Bee” is being derived from the city’s annual Honey Bee Festival.

“We wanted to give the opportunity to give feedback on what people in the community would like to see there in the future,” Carter said.

Within 30 minutes people began to respond on Facebook. “It all started off negative and then this amazing flood of positivity came through,” Carter said.

Johnny Cash Now Tribute Concert

Thrive gave a concert honoring the late Johnny Cash on Aug.10 to explore whether people would come to the old Ross Abney Complex and pay money to see a concert.

More than 600 tickets were sold, and many artists attended the event.

“It was a very successful event,” Carter said.

Mary Catherine O’Bryant is a reporter for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and the Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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