2298 Young office made possible by good people

One enormously advantageous asset of the Cooper-Young Community Association (CYCA) is the building in which our office is located.  Not only does it provide us with office space, a location for committee and general meetings, and public space for classes and art shows, but the rental income of the bays on the west side of the building is helping the organization purchase the building.

Owning our building will free up funds to finance other CYCA activities including neighborhood beautification projects like the McLean and Barksdale murals. Heading up the CYCA Building Committee is Realtor and longtime CYCA contributor Debbie Sowell.

Debbie originally got involved with the CYCA during the “Mulch To Members” days that some of you may remember from years past. Since then she has served on multiple committees and has even served as president of the CYCA. She continues to volunteer her time to our neighborhood association in many capacities, including serving on the board of directors and as the chairwoman for the Building Committee.

The association had been at the current location at 2298 Young for several years when the owners, the now-defunct Cooper-Young Development Corporation (CYDC), decided to sell the building. Once the association conducted an adequate search and felt confident that 2298 Young was the right place for the future of the organization, a private lender facilitated the CYCA’s purchase of the building in 2010.  Debbie’s expertise as a Realtor made her the perfect player for the CYCA during the purchase experience.

As fate would have it, the building survived a fire shortly after the purchase. While structure fires are traumatic, this event provided the CYCA an opportunity to make needed updates to the building. The building’s future is brighter and life expectancy is longer since the post-fire renovation. Debbie once again spearheaded the building restoration, working with the insurance company and contractors, and the Building Committee was born with Debbie as its chairwoman.

Today the Building Committee’s purpose is to maintain the building and take care of the rental bays.  Current tenants are Ray Rico Freelance, a business that does graphic design, social media and search engine marketing, and all aspects of print and design, and Charmed Boutique, a quality consignment store that specializes in upscale and designer women’s fashion. The committee serves the CYCA’s mission by taking care of our meeting venue, providing long-term vision in the purchase of the building to free up funds for other CYCA initiatives, providing a visible anchor on the eastern boundary of the neighborhood, thus stimulating activity in a less-utilized area of our unique community, and providing a location where residents and members know they can reach out to the association and its representatives, including our executive director, Kristan Huntley, who maintains office hours at the building.

Debbie’s committee does not have set plans outlined in the upcoming year but does have a “Wish List” of long-term goals for the building including restriping the parking lot surrounding the building, restoring the lighted sign on the front of the building, and rehabbing the outdoor space to the west of the building to make it more useable.

“I have always thought that a movie night shown on the side wall of our building would be so great,” Sowell said, thinking about future projects like the west-side clean-up.

Interested in volunteering for the Building Committee? Debbie’s committee does not require a large time commitment, but she notes, “It is nice to know that I have someone to bounce ideas off of when needed.”

Help is needed in planning the work day for the west side of the building sometime in the future, and she can always use assistance from anyone with property management experience to provide professional insight in managing the rental bays.

Whether or not you decide to volunteer, if you are interested in supporting the Building Committee and the Cooper-Young Community Association, become a CYCA member. Members enjoy a long list of benefits including voting rights in the CYCA and discounts at local businesses. You can join the CYCA by completing the form in this newspaper, by visiting our website at www.cooperyoung.org, by calling our executive director at 901-272-CYCA (2922), or by stopping by our wonderful, renovated building at 2298 Young Ave.

Here is a closing thought from Sowell, whose own real estate business rents space at 2298 Young Ave., too:  “When we think about all that CYCA does, it is so hard to put into one simple statement. Just hang around the office and you just get just a glimpse of all that goes on for the benefit of our residents. This is the CYCA castle of sorts and Kristan is our Queen.”

CYCA needs volunteers Dec. 14

Mark your calendars now for Saturday, Dec. 14. Visit with your fellow Cooper-Youngians, enjoy refreshments, and stuff envelopes at our annual Membership Mailer Stuffing event. Volunteers will meet at the CYCA office (2298 Young Ave.) at 10 a.m. to make this easy contribution to the organization that makes it all happen.

Your help makes it true:  Life is good in Cooper-Young!

Renee Massey

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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