Log in Subscribe

City receives Municipal League Award

Excellence in Downtown Revitalization


In recognition of the collaborative efforts of the City of Shelbyville to find new ways to preserve their historic city center, the Tennessee Municipal League recently announced that Shelbyville is the recipient of an award for Excellence in Downtown Revitalization. The award will be presented Tuesday, July 23, 2024, at the 84th Annual Conference of the Tennessee Municipal League (TML) held at the Knoxville Convention Center.
Dating back to 1810, Shelbyville’s historic downtown square is laid out in a central block bound by four streets and surrounded by a grid of square city blocks of the same size. This design, known as the Shelbyville Square or Shelbyville Plan, became a prototype for numerous other public squares through the U.S. during the 1800s. Its unique destinations, like Pope’s Cafe and the Capri Theater, have made it a draw for tourists as well as the backdrops for movies and music videos.
In 2021, the City began the Shelbyville Historic Square Redevelopment Project, designed to improve the aesthetics and momentum of the area.
This began with a Tennessee Department of Transportation Alternative Program grant of $1.38 million that placed all downtown utilities underground, constructed new sidewalks with decorative pavers for crosswalks,
and installed decorative landscaping, park benches, trash receptacles, and lamps. This first phase was completed in late 2022-early 2023 and made a more pedestrian-friendly downtown.
The City then applied for and received a 2023 Downtown Improvement Grant of $100,000 from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Working with the South-Central Tennessee Development District, the mayor and city council authorized an additional $25,000 in funds to make improvements to facades and businesses on the historic square. Participating projects had to provide a match of 25% to the 75% provided through the grant fund. More than 20 businesses participated in the
programs from painting, replacing windows and awnings, and updating signage.
The historic Capri Theater was able to completely revitalize their neon sign, adding a sense of nostalgia to nights in downtown Shelbyville. The City also used the funds to install a decorative informational kiosk giving visitors and locals updates on numerous events and activities happening throughout the community.
That same year, the City also sold three dilapidated downtown properties to BedCo Investments and the Grindstone Cowboy for renovation. Once completed, the properties will feature Grindstone Cowboy coffee, a
restaurant, and entertainment venue, as well as an ice cream shop, retail shops, business offices, and short-term overnight rental accommodations.

At present, the mayor and city council have authorized funds for the architectural and engineering conceptual plans of a new “Riverview District.” With funds from the fifth phase of the TDOT Transportation Alternative Program, this project will connect the historic square to the Shelbyville Riverwalk/River Overlook and River Bottom Park on the scenic Duck River, across the Duck River from the existing Fisherman’s Park and dam. Initial plans call for underground utilities, decorative lighting, streetscaping, a stage for events and musical performances, and more.
A catalyst for the conceptual Riverview District is the soon-to-open Glass Hollow Table and Tavern, a 270-seat steakhouse that will also have entertainment areas, meeting/reception rooms, and four short-term overnight
rental accommodations for those on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail.
City of Shelbyville Mayor Randy Carroll stated, “the City is grateful and proud to receive this prestigious award from the Tennessee Municipal League. The merchants, our City staff, and the South-Central Development
District joined in this team effort to revitalize the Historic Shelbyville Square and the results are stunning. This award is just icing on the cake for the wise planning and investment by each member of the team. We hope
you will take time to visit and stroll around our beautiful Historic Square. "Enjoy!”
Each year the Tennessee Municipal League honors cities throughout the state for overall excellence, improvement, specific outstanding programs, or department accomplishments.