About SPNA

The Sylvan Park Neighborhood Association (SPNA) is the collective community voice for addressing neighborhood issues such as zoning, security, beautification, traffic, metropolitan services, and environment.

SPNA members meet on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Senior Renaissance Center of Cohn Adult Learning Center at 4805 Park Avenue.

About Sylvan Park

Welcome to Sylvan Park! We hope you love this neighborhood as much as we do. Here are some helpful answers to commonly asked questions from newcomers.

What, exactly, is Sylvan Park?
The boundaries of the growing Nashville neighborhood are Charlotte Ave. to the north, Richland Creek to the west, railroad tracks to the south and east. Here is a Google map of the Sylvan Park neighborhood (zoom in for more detail).

Why do Sylvan Park residents love living here?
Here are just a few reasons.

  • Sylvan Park's many restaurants and businesses, within walking distance.

  • The newly-built McCabe Park Community Center, which offers patrons of all ages a modern and friendly place to exercise or spend leisure time, in a beautiful park setting; it also offers a variety of fitness classes and a full-service fitness center.

  • Richland Park Branch Library offers many programs for all ages, right in the neighborhood.

  • Sylvan Park Paideia Design Center is a well-regarded public elementary school with an active PTO.

  • Many Nashville Community Education classes take place at the Cohn School.

  • The popular Richland Park Farmer’s Market is on Saturday mornings in Richland Park.

  • Speaking of parks, the neighborhood has two of them - Richland Park and McCabe Park.

  • The Richland Creek Greenway is a 3.8 mile paved, looped path in our neighborhood, connecting McCabe Park and the Sylvan Park neighborhood with shopping centers along White Bridge Pike and Harding Road, and Nashville State Community College.

  • The McCabe Golf Course is a 27-hole golf course and practice facility that has been voted best place to play by Nashville Scene Magazine.

  • There are many opportunities to meet and socialize with your neighbors (see some links below for many active community organizations).

What should I do when I move here?

  • Join Nextdoor! :) Our neighborhood has an extremely active online community on Nextdoor, a private social network where neighbors can buy/sell goods, get business recommendations and experiences, share news and emergency alerts, and so much more. There are also lots of Facebook pages for neighborhood groups, including (but not limited to): SPNA, Sylvan Park Moms' Club, Sylvan Park PTO, Councilwoman Kathleen Murphy, the SPURS Running Club, Richland Creek Watershed Alliance, Friends of Richland Park Branch Library, tons of local restaurants and businesses, and so many more.

  • Join the Sylvan Park Neighborhood Association (SPNA). Since 1984, SPNA has been the collective community voice for addressing neighborhood issues such as zoning, security, beautification, traffic, metropolitan services, and environment. We sponsor a variety of social events throughout the year including a family movie night, annual golf tournament, a 4th of July parade, Night Out Against Crime, and a holiday party with caroling. There is also an informative quarterly neighborhood SPNA newsletter.

  • Sign up for Kathleen Murphy's email newsletter. Our councilwoman's updates contain helpful information and important links and events for Nashville's District 24, where our neighborhood is located. Her email is kathleen.murphy@nashville.gov if you need to reach her directly.

  • Explore the neighborhood! With all the nearby restaurants and places to go for recreation, the hard thing will be deciding what to do first, and which are your favorites!

What is the history of Sylvan Park?
Sylvan Park was established in 1887 and our neighborhood continues to evolve. Sylvan Park has a fascinating history, chronicled in “Nashville’s Sylvan Park,” by Yvonne Eaves and Doug Eckert (available through the Nashville Public Library system).

Who should I contact if...

  • I see something suspicious or concerning, but not necessarily criminal? Call the police nonemergency number at 615-862-8600.

  • I notice a problem with a city service or codes issue? You can submit a public works request here, or file a codes complaint here. Councilwoman Kathleen Murphy is a great resource for this, but you can also find a lot of information on the Nashville Metro web site 24 hours a day.

  • I have some other really, really random question? Nextdoor is about to be your best friend.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Thistle Stop Café: A Story in Every Cup

Thistle Stop Cafe on opening day, May 24 (Photo Credit: Erin Lee)

Chances are you’ve driven by one of the newest additions to our neighborhood a dozen times in the past few months without noticing it’s there. The Thistle Stop Café opened at the end of May. It sits at the corner of 52nd and Charlotte, and it anchors the corner of the Thistle Farms building.  That building also houses the non-profit’s offices, bath and body care manufacturing facility, and paper-making and sewing studios. The space is part café, part restaurant and part community-gathering place. The café is run by four graduates and residents of Magdalene, women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction.

“I have seen a complete transformation. This is their café,” said Courtney Johnson, who manages the Thistle Stop Café. “The community has built it, they helped build it, and they take pride in everything that they do here because it’s an opportunity for them to prove to themselves as well as the community that they are special. It’s an inspiration to be here and work with them on a daily basis. It means the world to them. They love their jobs and they love making coffee and making the food.”

The space used to be an old beauty school, but thanks to hundreds of volunteer hours and efforts from around the globe, the Thistle Stop Café has new life. The floors are made of 150-year-old pine from Al Gore Sr.’s tobacco warehouse in Carthage, Tennessee. And besides the teacups used for actual service, you’ll see hundreds of teacups made into chandeliers.

Teacup chandeliers (Photo Credit: Erin Lee)
“Becca Stevens, who founded Magdalene House and Thistle Farms, started asking people around the country to donate their teacups and bring a story with them. Some people sent boxes or one with a story on how this teacup survived Germany in WWII, or Ray Romano sent a teacup that he autographed,” explained Johnson. “We have teacups from all over the world: Ireland, South Africa, Brazil. We collected close to 800 teacups, if not more, and we had all these stories that went along with them. So we said we need to display them to integrate them into the design of the café. So we made teacup chandeliers, and they’re over the tables so people can admire them and see them.”

In keeping with the spirit of reusing and repurposing, reclaimed wood counters and cabinets were handmade by inmates at the Turney Center Industrial Prison.

“I went to pick the cabinets up myself in a U-Haul and had to drive into prison to get these cabinets,” said Johnson, laughing at the memory. “I met the men who built these and they were just so proud of their work, and it was really inspiring.

Employee (Photo Credit: Erin Lee)
The Thistle Stop Cafe sells Nashville-based and fair-trade coffees, teas and healthy catered foods. Johnson said their food and bakery items are a collaborative effort from artisans around Nashville, including Arnold Myint, D’Lish by Desiree, Vegan Vee, Dozen Bakery and Chef Ann Marie Drake.

“It was surreal, the night before we opened. At 9 p.m. we were just looking at everything and I was just kind of amazed at how many people came together to make this happen,” said Johnson. “It wasn’t just 20 people, it was hundreds. It was kids coming from their spring break to prime and paint the walls, big church groups that came to do work days. Then there was a core group of dedicated people that spent every weekend here. It moved me to tears to see an entire space that an entire community built to bring healing to these women and the community in general. It was incredible.”

Monday through Friday, 7-2 p.m.

Also open as a venue for private events. If interested contact Courtney@thistlefarms.org.

Starting October 17, the café will begin “Thistle Thursdays,” hosting a nighttime music event from 6-9 p.m. serving coffee and tea.

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