Fifth Street: Ready to Be Great Again!
Five Questions with Eddie Claiborne, President of the Fifth Street Community Development Corporation
Founded to spearhead the effort to revitalize this important and historic street in Downtown Lynchburg, the 5th Street Community Development Corporation will be happy to see the construction completed sometime this summer. On February 6, The News & Advance published a wonderful interview with Eddie Claiborne, President of the 5th Street CDC to discuss the construction and improvements along the corridor. We recently caught up with Eddie to ask a few questions of our own.
Question: In the recent N&A article, you talk about spending a lot of time on 5th Street as a kid. Can you tell us your favorite 5th Street Memory?
Answer: I have two favorites. The first was going to the Harrison Theater on Saturday mid mornings and staying all day long until the Manager, Mr. Fels, would run me out. The second was when I was lucky enough to get the price of one of the greatest sundaes from Dr. Reid's soda fountain at his pharmacy.
Question: Along with the streetscape, some of 5th Street's buildings are and have undergone renovation. Is there a particular one which you think is very cool?
Answer: I remember the Kentucky Hotel as a building in great disrepair. I was always intrigued by the building for some reason, to see it restored is pretty cool.
(Lynch's Landing: The Kentucky Hotel, 900 Fifth Street, is one of Lynchburg's oldest structures. Built prior to 1800, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was originally a private residence. Later, The Kentucky Hotel became in an inn that served travelers along the "Lynchburg Turnpike.")
Question: There are many building on 5th Street that have been lost. Is there one that you remember that you regret is no longer on the street?
Answer: The old "Sportsman Club" building on Fifth and Polk. It was a former dance hall but it brings back lots of memories of fun times. I wish that building could have been saved and restored. It offered a lot of possibilities for offices, businesses, or a boys and girls club.
Question: Like you, we think that businesses will be successful on 5th Street as soon as the construction is finished, and there will be some beautiful space ready to go. What kinds of businesses would you like to see open? Are there any that reflect 5th Street's heritage that we might seek out?
Answer: I would like to see a grocery store, a pharmacy, a good "soul food" restaurant, office buildings, a museum dedicated to telling the story of 5th Street. The History markers that we are installing in the round-about will tell the story also, but a museum could show action movies of the people as they live their lives on 5th Street.
Question: When the construction is complete and the street is open, what is the first thing you are going to do?
Answer: The first thing I will do is go to each business that has survived and congratulate them for surviving and thank everyone that played a part in reviving 5th Street, especially Tom Martin, City Planner, and the 5th Street CDC.
For the 5th Street CDC,
For the February 6 article in the News and Advance,