Gateway to Soulsville Changing with SMA Demolition and Construction

Aug 29, 2012   //   by admin   //   News, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

The Reed Brothers dairy plant was built in 1930 and has been vacant for over 20-years and had become a blight to the entrance to the community of Soulsville U.S.A. This is all changing…

Once the building is demolished SMA will move forward on a capital campaign to raise the six million dollars needed to build a Center for Families and Children at that site.

“You can not ignore the coincidence of replacing a dairy plant that provided nutritional substance to families with a nonprofit center dedicated to nurturing families,” said Jan Young, director of the Assisi Foundation.

Congressman Steve Cohen, Mayor A.C. Wharton, Councilman Joe Brown, Councilman Edmund Ford, Councilman Myron Lowery, Assisi Foundation Executive Director Jan Young, Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb, Reverend Reginald Porter, Field Office Director at Housing and Urban Development John Gemmill, community residents and many others came to celebrate SMA’s plans to demolish a derelict dairy plant and to put a new twist to an old Laundromat.

Not ignoring the significant historical importance of the dairy, SMA made a special presentation to Chief Executive Officer Dick Hackett of the Children’s Museum of Memphis by donating the 30+ foot tall milk jug that stood atop of the old dairy for 82-years.  Hackett said plans are to refurbish the milk jug and find a functional way to incorporate it into an exhibit for children in Memphis to continue to enjoy.

The audience also came to celebrate SMA’s plan to convert an out of date Laundromat, that at one time was slated to become a nightclub, into a state-of-the-art facility providing not only laundry services to this urban community but prevention services as well. Reginald Milton, executive director of SMA stated, “The community residents came to us and asked if there was anything we could do to prevent the loss of this needed business. So we bought the Laundromat.” After operating the business for a few years Mr. Milton realized that many of the same clients that the agency was serving also were customers of the laundry. So the question was asked, “Why not provide prevention services to these customers while they are sitting there waiting for their clothes to wash and dry?” With this idea in mind Mr. Milton approached Ms. Jan Young, director of the Assisi Foundation of Memphis and Mr. Robert Lipscomb, director of Memphis Housing and Community Development to secure the funds necessary to completely renovate this rundown laundry into the Community Laundromat and Resource Center.

“This is much more than changing a building; this is a place where we will build people,” said Mayor A C Wharton, during the ceremony.

SMA’s plans for both of these buildings are in line with it mission in servicing, mentoring and advocating for young people and families in need.

Neighborhood leaders like Tommy Evans, President of the 35th Ward Civic Club, viewed the rendering of the SMA Center for Families and Children.






Many local media outlets covered this event, including this article by The Commercial Appeal and this article by The Daily News.

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