Aretha Franklin Birthplace Restoration Project
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The Aretha & C. L. Franklin Center (ACLFC) is a Community effort by thought leaders and innovators committed to restoring and preserving the birthplace home of Aretha Franklin and honoring the legacy of her father, a renowned gospel preacher. While being committed to stabilizing inner city neighborhoods and creating urban spaces that celebrate our neighborhoods.
We are intentionally preserving a legacy and expanding on the critical mass already created in South Memphis and SoulsvilleUSA. We are aligning a historical musical figure, a powerful gospel preacher and creating a space that provides economic opportunities for residents, churches, artist, musicians and youth to use this space communally. We are creating a world class lasting memorial to Memphis’ own Aretha Franklin. We are attempting to share best practices in urban gentrification by those who live in the South Memphis Community.
- This plan address several major concerns of those who want to see the house renovated. Initially, the creation of a non-profit that will oversee all activity of the revitalization; create a diverse board of no more than 10 to include members of the House Family;
- Financial accountability of all funds received;
- Ensure the best possible repurpose/reuse of the facility is thoughtful and in the best interest of all concerned;
- Respectively of those who want to see the house remain at its location at 406 Lucy. What we know: The Lucy Street community is one in great need of revitalization. Infrastructure is needed, blighted vacant housing exist; overgrown lots; and improvement needed. There are cost estimate of between $5 – $20 million dollars of investments needed to bring this street into a place that is safe, decent and affordable for anyone choosing to live, work or play.
- Conversely, moving the house to a location in SoulsvilleUSA, a targeted Memphis 3.0 site. It is close to STAX Museum of American Soul Music, near the historic J. E. Walker House, the historic Metropolitan Baptist Church, the famous Four–Way Grill, the original Mississippi Blvd. Christian Church, Knowledge Quest/Green Leaf Organic Farms, LeMoyne-Owen College (the city’s only HBCU), the Firehouse Black Arts Alliance and South Memphis Alliance, in the midst of a community that has seen over $150 million in capital, social and equity investments since 1999.
- Our suggestion and plan will be determined by the new non-profit and its board.
This plan has not been created in a vacuum. After careful consideration and conversation with the original homeowner-Mrs. Vera House. Reaching out to community leadership, we are utilizing the Memphis Music Magnet Plan created nine years by residents and community partners, all in an effort to be inclusive to ensure we properly honor the legacy of Ms. Franklin and her Father.
The financial plan is segmented into three phases:
1) Initially, securing the house at its current location to stabilize the house as it is in need of structural stability ( within 2 months);
2)the finances needed to restore the house;
3)and creating a fitting memorial to Aretha Franklin, either on Lucy or at New Location honoring all interest.