Lynchburg Organizations Breathing New Life into Fifth Street

Lynchburg, VA--Lynchburg city officials are encouraging residents and business owners to take stock in downtown, especially the gateway to the area, Fifth Street.

The Lynchburg Neighborhood Development Foundation is working to restore two historical buildings on Fifth Street right now. They've already finished renovating the old gas station on Fifth and Federal, and they've even found a tenant for the place, who is just as intent on seeing Fifth Street thrive, as they are.

Laura Dupuy is Executive Director of the Lynchburg Neighborhood Development Foundation. She says it's her job to give a lift to sagging facades, especially historic ones.

"We go out of our way to try and preserve what we can in the buildings. It's just a shame to lose them," said Dupuy.

Fifth Street is full of buildings and history that have come close to being demolished. Now they're being restored and readied for anything that comes their way.

"Fifth Street is wide open now. It's kind of the Wild West," Dupuy said.

It's open to organizations as unique as the buildings in which they're housed. Word Works is centered around giving children an opportunity to express themselves through written word. President Jenny Poore, says being a part of Fifth Street was always the plan.

"Fifth Street was where we were looking at from the beginning and this amazing building just happened to be open, and so it was kind of meant to be," she said.

Poore says from the corner of Fifth and Federal, her writing program can reach kids from six elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools.

"It's the icing on the cake that we can be in this location because then we can do something for the community as a whole that we would not be able to do someplace else," said Poore.

It's just another way to help get Fifth Street back on its feet.

"There's been decline, and the city's investing a great deal in it, because it is an important street," said Dupuy.

"You know everybody would say--oh, Fifth Street. But now people are thinking--oh, Fifth Street!" said Poore.

The Lynchburg Neighborhood Development Foundation is also in the process of acquiring another building on Fifth Street that they will renovate. They hope their newly restored buildings will be home to both businesses and residents in the future.