SoDA District Courtyard in Abilene proves revitalization is possible


ABILENE, Texas - On Thursday evening, the SoDA District Courtyard will unveil a new mural on the walls of the newly renovated event venue and home. The building sits on South 2nd Street, an area where vacancy is common.

"These buildings are beautiful, they're salvageable, they can be re-purposed. they should be re-purposed," said owner Tim Smith.

The SoDA, or South of Downtown Abilene, District Courtyard started as the Ford Studabaker Auto Sales store in the late 1920s. After that, it was a John Deer Tractor Supply before becoming the Boys and Girls Club in the 1950's.

The building eventually sat vacant for over 40 years before Tim and his wife, Pam, decided to buy the building.

"Most people would've told you that this building was too far gone but it takes a creative eye. It takes some vision. It takes someone who's willing to jump off that cliff and figure out how to land on the way down," said Smith.

Places like The Mill, which was also re-purposed into a winery.

"We've seen a huge interest and excitement in this area since The Mill came in, since we've done this," said Smith.

Smith says he would like to see anything done to the buildings that stand there vacant.

"Sell them, lease them, get people in and out of them so they're used for something other than storage or vacant like the old jail has for years," said Smith.

After holding a number of events already at the SoDA District Courtyard, Smith will unveil a new mural within the courtyard, Thursday night, showcasing local talent from Palette of Purpose Inc.

It will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at 817 S. 2nd St. in Abilene.

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