Crews have been digging into the corner of Cooper and Young in recent weeks, replacing landscaping, repaving the plaza and renovating the neighborhood’s signature gazebo.
The Cooper-Young Business Association, which maintains the property, is replacing four locust trees with five male ginkgoes about 3 inches around and 9 to10 feet tall, said Tamara Cook, executive director of the CYBA. The organization saved some of the original yaupon hollies and will add about 52 new dwarf yaupon hollies and several dozen new Crimson Fire loropetalum bushes.
“We have to plant items that can handle the heat and drought of Memphis weather,” Cook said.
Some of the cobblestones that line the sidewalk also are being replaced. The original manufacturer has gone out of business, so CYBA is adding a close match Cook found from former neighborhood business Christie Cut Stone.
Once the landscaping is finished, CYBA will paint and re-roof the gazebo with the same diamond-shaped shingles, or something 1920s-period appropriate, she said.
Finally, street banners featuring the new “Cooper-Young, Historically Hip” logo should be installed along Central, Cooper and Young.
“It was the tearing out of the trees and root system that has made the project so much bigger,” she said. “We could not replant on top of grinding stumps for three years. The root system was way out of control and we are surprised that it hasn’t uprooted the brick work and concrete work in the beds and that corner area.”
A rounded, redesigned corner, the gazebo, flowerbed plantings, ginkgoes that line the street and period streetlights were installed back in 1991 and completed in1992 with money from a federally funded Oasis Grant that was a joint effort between the CYCA and CYBA and spearheaded by Bill Stemmler, who then worked at Boatman’s Bank with the Community Reinvestment Act, Cook said.
The gazebo hosts musicians during Cooper-Young’s monthly First Thursday Night Out events beginning in April.