In early 2011, the Ivywild neighborhood was hitting the skids, troubled by crime and declared a blight. Today it's rebounding in a big way, thanks in part to the Urban Renewal Area designation it earned at its lowest point.
As promised, local businessmen Joseph Coleman and Mike Bristol responded to modest development incentives by dropping millions into the old Ivywild School. Their complex is one of a kind locally, offering beer, food, entertainment and art, which we detail in our feature starting here.
"I think this area has really got a lot of potential, and we get to be a part of that," Bristol says. "We're not doing it all ourselves, but want to encourage other people to come down and do it. We think Ivywild could really be a center for locally produced foods, drinks and community."
The school's been opening in phases; already you can chow down on house-made sausage, sip siphoned coffee, and tear into a from-scratch cinnamon roll. "And we're just starting to really come to the beginning of live music," notes Coleman, "or all the other cool community stuff we want to do."
My own earliest memories are embedded in this neighborhood; I recall flying a kite in the front yard of our house on Ramona Avenue, where that summer my sister was born. This April, I returned to buy my first house on La Clede, just a few blocks away.
There's a lot to celebrate at Ivywild, but maybe the first toast should be to new beginnings.