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Downtown Alley Spotlight

OH HAPPY DAY! 3/22/2018

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Welcome to Wadsworth Alley and Courtyard 24 hours after a face lift! Wow, what a profound difference! We hope to keep more transformation photos coming!

Let's get our hands dirty!

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Community partners met on Wednesday March 21, 2018 to complete a service project to improve the condition of Wadsworth Alley. This alleyway beautification effort was coordinated by Main Street Newnan and Keep Newnan Beautiful. These two organizations worked with dozens of property owners and business owners to gain permission to remove bulk waste from the alley, an effort that was facilitated by volunteers. Volunteer teams included the Newnan Coweta Board of Realtors, Waste Industries and Meat N Greet. The City of Newnan's Public Works Department and Gentry Salvage assisted to dispose of bulk items cost free on behalf of business owners, and property owners.There are future improvement projects that are planned to take place throughout the year with the intent to continue to keep this space maintained.

Share your ideas!

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It is going to take COMMUNITY SUPPORT!

Did you know that a strong majority of our downtown alleys are private property? Most visitors and residents are unaware, and most property owners, or business owners are not 100% clear where these lines are drawn. This situation is more made complex because of the numerous layers of easements and access options for utility companies, public entities, etc. For this reason, each individual that has an interest in improving Wadsworth Alley must be in agreement to find a future use of this space. Wadsworth Alley has been a place for utility since the beginning of its existence, and any purpose past that will give this area a new meaning. We know from different accounts that the alley has served many purposes and functions, which is how it received its name! We are very interested in learning more about options and examples that members of the community are interested in sharing with Main Street Newnan. Our objective is to provide this information to business owners and property owners that are working with community partners to find a creative use for this space. Please share ideas, experiences, or examples by emailing Mainstreetnewnan@cityofnewnan.org.

Also, be sure to scroll through a few unique ideas that others have shared with our team (more to come)!


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We are so pleased by everyone's enthusiasm about the future use of Wadsworth Alley! More to come! Check out the front page of the Newnan Times Herald, Sunday, 3/18/2018

History and Legacy of Wadsworth Alley

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The photos included display an image of musician Charles Wadsworth, and historic maps of Wadsworth Alley that date to 1885. How did this alley gain its name? What a great question! The story below is shared as reported in the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

Charles Wadsworth, perhaps the second-most famous musician to come out of Newnan, has two bits of hometown real estate that carry his name, one to give him honor and the other to give him a laugh.

Though Wadsworth’s illustrious career has seen him create chamber music programs in Spoleto, Italy, at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center, in Cartagena, Colombia, and Charleston, S.C., he has returned yearly to play for a Newnan audience. Those concerts raised money to help refurbish a Newnan city auditorium that had lost much of its art deco charm since it was constructed in 1939.

Like his hall, Wadsworth has come a long way. His beginnings were humble. His father was a grocery store clerk. His mother sold ready-to-wear clothes and fitted the women of Newnan with corsets and foundation garments. Young Charles showed aptitude for music early on, but still had the responsibility for fetching chickens from the coop in the alley behind his father’s grocery store when a customer wanted a fresh fryer for supper.

Somehow his parents scraped up enough money to buy him an upright piano and, later, a small grand, as his skills improved.

After earning a degree from Julliard, Wadsworth was tapped by Italian musical giant Gian Carlo Menotti to create a chamber music program for his Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto. The American became a hit with Italian audiences, not just because of his programming, but because of his amusing and garrulous introductions, delivered in fractured Italian.

His fame and influence spread, and he founded similar programs in the U.S., including the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2010, nine years after that other Newnan musician, Alan Jackson, was similarly honored.

But Jackson, the country singer and songwriter, had the additional distinction of his own five-mile stretch of I-85 being renamed the Alan Jackson Highway. Wadsworth pretended to pout. Newnan’s city fathers and mothers decided Wadsworth needed a similar landmark and renamed the alley behind his father’s grocery store the Charles Wadsworth Alley.

“It’s not a superhighway, says Wadsworth, but it’s not bad.”

Though a Manhattan resident since 1952, Wadsworth expresses deep appreciation for the little town that set him on his way and says that performing for the last time, while he still has command of his abilities, is a bittersweet experience.

“I treasure all the things that life in a small Georgia town offered and all the amazing people who were friends of the family who became close to me and wanted to help in any way they could, taking me to concerts in Atlanta or having parties where they would pay me to play pop tunes,” he said. “These things remain with me.”

Wadsworth Alley- the beginning of a great project

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The photos included in this post are a preview of the condition of Wadsworth Alley at the beginning phases of planning revitalization and beautification. This was the condition of the area during the first week that City of Newnan staff assessed the condition of the space, and also the condition that was introduced to our community partners with the Newnan Coweta Board of Realtors. During this time the City of Newnan's Code Inspector determined that there was some growth on privately owned properties that would need to be removed, and the City of Newnan's Public Works Department determined that there were a variety of waste items that could be removed for disposal (pending permission of property owners). Our community partners with the Newnan Coweta Board of Realtors surveyed the alley on March 5, 2018, and expressed an interest in the project. We agreed during the site visit to act upon scheduling a date to remove waste from the alley so that we could explore opportunities for community partners to work with the property owners, and business owners to improve the area.

2017 Wadsworth Alley

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The City of Newnan developed a Downtown Sanitation Program for business owners in 2017 to address the waste and beautification needs that are specific to dense urban districts. One issue that was documented and addressed was the condition of the privately owned alleyways in Downtown Newnan. These small and narrow spaces suffered immensely as numerous new businesses opened in Downtown Newnan. The district grew from around a 20% vacancy rate to a 3% vacancy rate in 6 short years, and with growth came more waste. The alleys became overfilled with trash cans, card board, decaying furniture, and more, they had also become areas for dumping residential and construction waste. As the waste in our alleys increased, so did the concern for public health, as the situation invited pest and animal infestations. The photos included here display Wadsworth Alley in 2017. We hope to reference this in the year to come to show progress with the revitalization of this wonderful space!
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