The block and its historic buildings were home to the family of Genevieve Van Vleck, a member of the 1920 all-female Jackson Town Council that made history as the first all-women’s government in the United States. Today, these buildings are home to beloved local businesses Cafe Genevieve, Persephone, and Healthy Being Juicery, which bring people together in the heart of our community. We believe that Jackson’s future should be true to its history and local community character, which includes our historic buildings, community spaces, and local businesses.
So, we’re working to make sure the Van Vleck block is protected into the future, and that this protection can someday extend to all historic community spaces through the adoption of a Historic Preservation Ordinance.
The owners of 135 and 175 East Broadway – the Van Vleck block – submitted an application to change the zoning of their two properties (to make it easier to build a bigger hotel on the site). Public outcry reflected the sentiment that the block acts as a “local town square,” housing beloved local businesses: Persephone, Healthy Being, and Café Genevieve.
The owners promised to preserve the Van Vleck (Café Genevieve) building if they received the zoning change. The Historic Preservation Board rescinded their support for that trade, believing we can do better. The Jackson Planning Commission recommended against the zone change as well.
Two years ago, new zoning decisions for the block were put on hold until a Historic Preservation Ordinance and Zoning was drafted and adopted. We support creating a historic preservation strategy first, before any spot up-zone on the Van Vleck Block.
This is our chance to save the block. Contact your Town Council (firstname.lastname@example.org) to show your support for preserving history and community character. UPDATE: the block’s owners have indefinitely postponed their rezone application. We’ll keep you posted as we find out more, and learn about the recent change in this News & Guide article.