Meetings to discuss ideas for grant funds
And Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership were awarded a Community Challenge Grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to facilitate a planning process for Warren’s neighborhoods. The grant allocated funds to add two staff people at TNP and to begin the process with a citywide property survey of every residential parcel.
The results of that survey, which will be completed this spring, will reveal the specific details of issues that have been apparent for years. Warren has significant numbers of both abandoned houses and vacant lots. The scale of the problem presented by blight in Warren is one reason the grant was awarded.
Another reason the grant was awarded is that we outlined a clear plan to craft individual strategies for each neighborhood, based on input from the residents who live there. We believe that talking to neighbors about what’s happening in their neighborhoods is the only way to pursue meaningful and sustainable community development.
Different approaches to dealing with blight are often debated as if they are mutually exclusive – demolition vs. rehab, yard expansion vs. vegetable garden, grass seed vs. wildflowers – but the reality is that we will need every available strategy to implement plans that make sense for our neighborhoods over the short and long term. We need a demolition strategy that complements a housing rehab strategy. We need land use strategies that include all options. We need a strategy to preserve existing home ownership and identify resources for property improvement. We need resident input to inform these strategies.
Resident involvement in the planning process continues this month with a round of meetings held in five regions of the city. The meetings are designed to open a running conversation with residents about ideas for their neighborhoods and to specifically solicit input about the repurposing of vacant houses and land.
Dialogue with residents is vitally needed at this crucial moment in Warren’s history. Job loss and disinvestment, suburban sprawl and the foreclosure crisis of recent years have left our city with a lopsided housing stock and a level of blight that none of us deserves to live with, but our neighborhoods are still salvageable.
TNP is facilitating these meetings in partnership with the city of Warren and the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative (MVOC). Please join us for the first round of the process by attending the meeting closest to your neighborhood to hear more about the overall project and to participate in a discussion about existing neighborhood assets. We have some ideas but we’d like to hear yours first.
The following are times and dates for the first round of meetings, which will last an hour and serve as an introduction to the project, a discussion about neighborhood assets, and a discussion about neighborhood challenges.
Northwest Warren: Northwest and Austin-Starlite, Wednesday, March 13, 6:30 p.m. at McGuffey K-8 School
Southwest Warren: Southwest and Palmyra Heights, Wednesday, March 20, 6:30 p.m.at Jefferson K-8 School
Southeast Warren: Southeast and Kenmore, Wednesday, March 27, 6:30 p.m. at Willard K-8 School
Northeast Warren: Northeast and Garfield, Wednesday, April 3, 6:30 p.m. at Lincoln K-8 School