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Rejuvenation street 

by Angela Johnson


That was old will be new again -- and old. The highly anticipated plans for the renovation of the South Perry District will be made available to the public at the second annual South Perry Summer Street Faire, this Saturday. The plans boast more than 200 new trees, brick to be laid in the pedestrian crosswalks, park benches and old-fashioned lampposts.


Twenty-five independent businesses will present a percentage of their profits from the fair to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, which is located in the same neighborhood. Last year, participants of the street fair donated about $4,000 to the charity. They are hoping to raise $10,000 for it this year.


"We wanted to benefit a good charity and our neighbors," says Mel Silva, media chair for the South Perry Business Association and owner of Madeleine's Antiques and Home D & eacute;cor


A variety of local bands will be donating their time giving concerts at The Shop from 10 am until 9 pm. Jazz musicians Otis P. and the Jive Funk are coming from Seattle to play. Local bands Mulligan and Sidhe are performing, along with several others.


Some of the highlights of the street fair are a classic car show, art and food vendors and the quilt show. There will be face painting, a booth from the farmer's market and many others -- even the Buddhist temple has an open house. The car show features Charlie Ryan, who wrote and performed "Hot Rod Lincoln," and his famous Lincoln. The show, as well as many of the vendors, will be located in Grant Park, which is also due for rejuvenation.


Silva says the plans for the neighborhood are designed to make it look quaint and calming.


"Everything's new, but will look old," he says.


The District received several hundred thousand dollars in grants to transform the area. "We have funds in the tune of over $300,000," Silva says.


In addition, the community received $40,000 from a community development grant. Tom Reese, project manager at the city, is helping to plan the improvements.


Mark Camp is the current South Perry Business Association president and owner of The Shop, a coffeehouse and a favorite local band venue. He says the plans for the neighborhood are designed to make it a desirable place for people to visit -- and live.


The South Perry District used to have a reputation for being a high crime area. But Camp says all that has changed, partly because of the businesses that have come into the area, and partly due to the positive energy growing there. The resurrection of the area will hopefully turn its reputation around once and for all.


"If something gets spray painted, it gets covered up the next day," Camp says. "This is one of the safer neighborhoods in the city right now."


This year, the association will plant 10 ceremonial trees during the street fair, where they'll join the 10 trees that were planted in front of Liberty Park Florist last year.


Whether people attend the fair for the quilt show, to view the plans for the community or to benefit the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, it should be fun for all.


"It was spectacular last year," Camp says.





The 2nd Annual South Perry Summer Street Faire, located on 8th Street through 11th Street on South Perry and in Grant Park, will be held on Saturday, July 21, from 9 am until 5 pm. Free.


Call: 534-7502 or 535-6832.

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