NeighborWorks, when Neighbors Work

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About 3 years ago  I was able to spend a week attending a NeighborWorks community development/stabilization conference and classes.  A few weeks prior, I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I KNEW it would not be easy to attend as all of my pregnancies have been “high risk”, however  “not easy “  was an understatement.  In between violently vomiting (all day “morning sickness”), sharp muscle spasms in my back,  and having a condition which produced excessive  saliva, I was able to network with others dedicated to community development and rebuilding blighted urban areas.  It was one of the most draining and yet- exciting times in my life, especially being that it was held in New Orleans….a city not fully recovered from the Katrina devastation. 

I can not believe that was nearly 3 years ago. Ironically,  like in childbirth the pains and hardship one endures in that time (before and during labor) become a memory, once that which you anticipate has arrived.  Now, it’s just the growing pains.

We have  hundreds of  Non-Profits in the West End of Atlanta and many new businesses come to our NPU seeking support with this status and mission to help rebuild. Most claim to do  community development, or provide homebuyer resources.  Honestly, I have seen very little impact from any agency within my neighborhoods.  Yes, we do have UCDC (University Community Development Corporation) who have successfully participated in the NSP program-  rehabed and resold homes to a few owner occupants. However, the success ratio of these non-profits make it very difficult for me to support them.

 Why are those who have made it their business to redevelop communities limited in their accomplishments? Some will say they are lacking financial resources (grants are limited) and others may be lacking support.  I personally believe the “business” of  community development can not be a 9-5 Mon- Friday business alone.   There were many things I learned during the week in New Orleans,  one thing that resonates throughout my community is that a stabilized safe  neighborhood can not be built without resident involvement.  In our communities, what I do see are  neighbors with no affiliation to anything, nor  “C3’s”   bringing in new residents, orchestrating clean ups, and public safety meetings.

 In that spirit, this January 2013, Area West Realty will  join with  “Committed To Communities” in their event sponsored by The Beltline Team, Invest Atlanta and Wells Fargo Neighborhood Lift on a mission to support our neighbors with their efforts of community development.   During this time, we will showcase available homes,  affordability programs and some of the best features in our communities.  We are making available, the City of Atlanta, bank reps and * RRC for one on one (no-strings-attached) conversations.  We only need YOU

Mark your calendar January 12th for this event. We appreciate our neighbors and will have special “Thank You’s” for YOUR community development efforts.  ( more information to come).

Side Note:

Reynoldstown Revitalization Corporation, or RRC has successfully helped many potential home owners work on their credit, understand the home buying and ownership process.

I  also encourage those in the business, and neighbors NOT in the business,  to invest in additional training at NeighborWorks America.  The information received is priceless, the connections made will change lives.

For information on past Committed to Communities events.

Can you see it?

I never noticed this but I will be sure to check the next time I’m in Capitol View Manor. It is said this small community was named for its excellent view of the Georgia State Capitol building.

What I did notice, were all the like-kind brick Bungalows, Cape Cods and Victorians.  There is something about being next to homes similar in style (but not exactly alike) that appeal to me. I find it easier to determine values and desirability.(Maybe it’s also  just my personal hang up- consistency is key.)

As per Wiki:

Capitol View Manor was originally vast farmland owned by a select group of people that included John Shannon and the Deckner Family. During the early 1910s, many people started to settle in the area, and, in 1912, the area known as Capitol View was annexed to the City of Atlanta. This is when many utilities, including sewage and electricity, came to the area. In 1920, Capitol View Manor was established, and more houses started to be built on the eastern side of Stewart Avenue. Five years later, Capitol View Manor was annexed to the City of Atlanta. Most of the homes in this neighborhood were built in the next twenty years. In addition, the Capitol View School was built in 1929.

Most of the homes in Capitol View Manor were built between the early 1920s and the mid 1940s. Capitol View Manor was originally developed by the same developer of the Morningside and Virginia Highland neighborhood (WOW- I KNEW they looked familiar!) . Homes in the neighborhood are some of the most affordable in the entire city for their quality.

……………..So, you mean the $29,000 home on Shannon Dr. was actually a $250,000 Virgina Highland and Morningside home?  Hummm.  I think if more people could actually understand this, and the value of a home- more owner occupants would be borrowing against or cashing in their 401K and  running to buy these gems in Southwest Atlanta.

For more information on the Capitol View Manor community, take a look at their facebook page HERE

Did you know:  There is a 102 year old home on Deckner?  It’s a landmark and the old Deckner Family house.  This is on my “to-do” list for the week, drive by and look for  this home, anyone know the address?

Are we there yet?

Ever felt like you were on the heels of greatness? 

THIS _ close to accomplishment… you can almost taste it?

Can’t sleep- don’t blink and God forbid, you miss a community meeting!  

Maybe it’s just me, and me knowing what I know- seeing THIS scene occur in New York (Harlem… Brooklyn..)but every meeting, every discussion, every media article, every planning  report  received is confirmation to what I feel deep in my soul.

We’re almost there…..

Not only do we have great residents working hard, we have many community advocates who are passionate about our communities and working to ensure we do “gentrification” correctly.  What do I mean? I mean, not only one group benefiting from the revitalization of our neighborhoods but we ALL benefit; our seniors,children, entrepreneurs, all races, cultures  and income levels- ALL, willing to persevere and work to reap the benefits of the vision.

Let me just say, yesterday I did not feel like this AT ALL.  I felt  tired, a bit defeated and  overwhelmed thinking:

“what more can I do? I just want to stay in my little house on my little corner doing nothing but fight with my landscaping “. 

Then Ireceived a call, an invitation to the West End Merchants Coalition. It  was time for their meeting this morning at 7AM.  YES- 7AM??…same thing I said. “Too early, I can’t make it.” However, the call was very timely as I recently completed a tour of our commercial  space, taking inventory of available locations.  Dragging myself out of bed at 6AM was a much needed renewal.  Not only did Council Member Winslow provide information on all the commercial incentives available, my personal SHE-RO, Deborah Scott of Georgia Standup was the guest speaker.  If you don’t know Ms. Scott, you’re missing out! (www.GeorgiaStandup.org)

Ms. Scott discussed how our businesses (and residents) can benefit from the developments taking place in Atlanta.  Do you know how many developments are taking place in Atlanta?  The list is pretty amazing. I have no idea which I should jump into first (all late) but, after the meeting with Ms Scott-  I KNOW I can’t sit and do nothing…or mentally fight with my landscaping much longer. A wise woman said, “If  you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu!”… I really like that  lady!

Here are a few projects and links for you to research:

Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal:

http://www.dot.ga.gov/informationcenter/p3/projects/mmpt/Pages/default.aspx

http://ajc.com/business/gulch-planners-take-big-1476572.html

http://atlantamagazine.com/fivepoints/blogentry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10403206

Fort McPherson:

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-government/state-aims-to-invest-139780.html

http://www.mcphersonredevelopment.com/

Atlanta Transit:

http://beltline.org/atlanta-beltline-programs/strenghening-the-community/

http://beltline.org/progress/planning/

http://www.atlantadowntown.com/initiatives/atlanta-streetcar/About

Atlanta Stadiums:

http://www.gwcc.com/about/Masterplans.aspx

http://www.investatlanta.com/buildDev/StadiumArea.jsp

http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/football/new-stadium-plan-retractable-roof-demolish-dome-1/nQTK4/

Business Development Opportunities:

www.investatlanta.com/entprnrSmallBus/commercialLoans.jsp

 http://www.dca.state.ga.us/economic/DevelopmentTools/programs/opportunityzones.asp

Community Improvement District:

http://westendcid.org/

Study up, and be prepared to come to the table! NPU-T holds our meeting every 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7PM. www.NPUTAtlanta.org

Please let me know if any links are broken, I’m so excited I can’t type fast enough. 🙂

Atlanta BeltLine SW 5K This Saturday

NEWS ALERT – July 11, 2012

Atlanta BeltLine Southwest 5K Run/Walk Features Exciting Team Challenge and Indoor Post-Race Activities
What: The Atlanta BeltLine Southwest 5K is a Run/Walk along the Atlanta BeltLine Southwest Trail and through the historic West End and Westview neighborhoods. The race course will introduce participants to many local parks and features a ¾-mile off-road jaunt within the Atlanta BeltLine corridor. It is the second 5K of the 2012 Atlanta BeltLine Running Series!
Unique to this event, the race course features a Scavenger Hunt that takes runners along a path showcasing a number of Art on the Atlanta BeltLine exhibits. The event also features a Team Challenge with nearly 20 teams competing for a cash purse to be awarded to fastest, largest, and most spirited teams.
When: Saturday, July 14th; Arrive by 7 a.m. for a 7:30 a.m. race start!
Where: Gordon White Park, 1350 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30310
Registration: Online registration closes Wednesday, July 11 at midnight; In-store registration is available at West Stride at 3517 Northside Pkwy. #11, Atlanta, GA 30327. We anticipate that a limited number of race day registrations will be available. Cost is $30 in-store and online. Race-day registration is $35. Visit Run.BeltLine.org for details.
Photo Opps:
·        Hundreds of runners participating in warm-up exercises and pre-race routines
·        Runners against the setting of scenic Art on the Atlanta BeltLine murals
·        Teams competing head-to-head
·        Indoor post-race activities including the Atlanta Braves BAT team, award presentations, and more at Space Atlanta.