In 2013 I wrote an essay about Twelve Points, a neighborhood in Terre Haute in which I lived in the early 1990s. It was in sad shape on that 2013 visit, having been in decline since before I lived there. But as late as the 1970s, the heart of Twelve Points had been a vital center of commerce and entertainment.
Twelve Points is named for the twelve corners created where Lafayette Avenue, 13th Street, and Maple Avenue all intersect. The three streets create a small triangle.
Revitalizations had been tried before, with small businesses going into some of the vacant storefronts. Critical mass was never reached, however, and soon the storefronts stood vacant again.
I arranged to meet Gerri Knezevich, who leads a new initiative to revitalize Twelve Points. He formed Twelve Points Revitalization, a 501(c)(3) organization, to drive economic development here. Where previous efforts had been led by businesses, Knezevich told me, this time events and the arts are leading the way. The idea is that these events will bring crowds, who will find an increasing number of hip, arty businesses here — and then people come back to keep enjoying these businesses. Knezevich’s group has brought several events to Twelve Points, including concerts, comedy, and even a car show. Visitors will currently find a pie shop, a record shop, a kombucha shop, and a nice Italian restaurant are leading the way. Unfortunately, I managed to visit on a Monday, when all of these businesses were closed.
Another aspect of this revitalization campaign is keeping Twelve Points clean, with volunteers regularly picking up litter. Volunteers are also brightening up Twelve Points by painting murals on the sides of some buildings.
Sadly, I didn’t photograph more of Twelve Points this day as it was quite cold. It’s just as well, as the area is still rather rough. But Knezevich assured me he’d keep inviting me back as events are scheduled. Perhaps I’ll be able to chronicle this neighborhood’s resurgence over the next few years.
Here’s hoping Knezevich and his volunteers find excellent success. To learn more, see the Twelve Points Revitalization Web site.
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