VINE NEIGHBORHOOD CONTINUES COMMUNITY ORGANIZING PROJECT
January 14, 2013
Source: James Valeii
Job Title: Community Development Coordinator
My name is James Valeii, I am the Community Development Coordinator at the Vine Neighborhood Association (VNA). I've written this letter with Steve Walsh, VNA Executive Director, to let you know that the VNA is working on a strategic growth plan for the neighborhood, and you are invited to participate.
Have you had parking issues? Blighted structure concerns? A desire to rennovate, but too little financing? A wish for additional programs for yourself or your children? Have you imagined solutions to these or other problems? And thought of ways to add to what you like about your community, but did not make progress because you lacked support? Plans make your ideas count because they connect you with fellow residents and area agencies, who, with your help, can take your ideas to the next stage.
Having a plan demonstrates that a community knows what it wants and is taking action to reach its goals. This demonstration increases the community's ability to bargain for support.
DOES IT HELP?
Yes - Plans make changes right here, in Kalamazoo.
Whether the project is fixing up someone's front porch steps or bringing a small grocery into the community, groups that plan are more prepared to take advantage of opportunity.
The Edison Neighborhood Work Plan helped usher millions of dollars worth of projects into the neighborhood, including the Marketplace Development, the Kik Pool, and the redevelopment of Edison Place.
Every year, the City of Kalamazoo receives millions of dollars in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development because the City has a plan and takes action to satisfy the goals established in that plan. In other words - if it weren't for the plan, the City wouldn't be funded.
HOW WE'LL DO IT
VNA staff will hold several Community Visioning Meetings (see the table on back for dates). When planning groups meet, childcare and food will be provided. All meetings will be held at the Vine Neighborhood Association, 511 West Vine.
The goal of the planning meetings will be to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the neighborhood and, most importantly, to form a collaborative spirit among residents. With a strong collaboration, we will all be more able to work together to "build out" from our strengths and "build up" to resolve issues.
At the conclusion of all of the planning meetings, the assets, issues, and work groups from the entire residency of the neighborhood will be integrated into a neighborhood-scale plan.