New Plan To Revitalize Near-East Side Of Columbus

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Community organizations are helping to breathe new life into the city's near-east side.

The latest plan, announced by the Near East Area Stakeholders Association, is a facelift for the Theresa building in the 800 block of east Long Street.

The Association says it hopes the project will encourage development in the area.

The group says the flower shop, "Battiste LaFleur Galleria" is an example of what they'd like to see more of in the area.

You could say it was Vera Battiste's destiny to have a business on Long Street.

Battiste says she learned about flowers in her Grandmother's flower shop on Long Street in Kingstree, South Carolina.

"I knew I would do it," said Battiste "but I never thought I'd do it when I grew up, but here I am."

This time she is on Long Street on the near-east side.

Battiste is a managing partner, along with her sister, of "Battiste LaFleur Galleria."

"We're not just a flower shop we are a galleria of art from a floral perspective," said Battiste.

Battiste, and her sister, used that perspective to turn an abandoned building on Long Street into the shop they have worked out of for nearly two years.

A process that will be repeated next door at the Theresa Building.

A building that has its own story.

"It was the very first office building built for African-Americans," said Georgetta Lake, owner of The Theresa Building

Owner Georgetta Lake, has partnered with Woods Development Group, LLC., to renovate the property and bring three new businesses to the building.

A move they hope will encourage increased development in the area.

After nearly two years on Long Street, Battiste says their client list has expanded from the local area to creating floral designs for HBO shows such as Boardwalk Empire.

However, being a part of the King-Lincoln District is what, Battiste says, matters most.

Battiste says the community that has embraced her in now on the verge of something great.

"I feel it," said Battiste, "I worked in this community 15 years prior to opening here so to see the rejuvenation and the evolution has been absolutely incredible."