We are a UNIFIED community of DIVERSE people, neighborhoods, institutions and people who share a COMMON GOAL of ensuring the WEST SIDE GROWS TOGETHER.
– from the West Side Revitalization Plan, 2012
In 2010, the civic associations, neighborhood planning councils, institutions, and businesses of the West Side began to meet to discuss ways to work together. Many of us recognized that we were facing common challenges. We also discovered we had many of the same hopes for a better future.
We decided to create a neighborhood plan, as shown in the video below. The goal was to create a common vision for the future of the West Side and outline the steps we could work on together to make that future a reality.
We formed a Steering Committee to lead the development of the plan and guide implementation efforts.
Between June 2011 and June 2012, more than 650 residents and over 100 other stakeholders worked together to develop the West Side Revitalization Plan, which lays out a ten year strategy to improve the housing, revitalize the parks, strengthen our businesses and business districts, build community pride, and create more opportunities for youth in our community.
To make sure that the voices of residents from every neighborhood were heard, 25 volunteers from our community knocked on more than 1000 doors and talked to over 400 residents from every neighborhood to learn their concerns and hopes for their neighborhood. We held two community meetings, each drawing over 125 people.
Seeking community ideas and feedback
We also encouraged residents and other stakeholders to share their ideas through:
- 20 confidential interviews with residents, community leaders, business owners, service providers, and City officials.
- 5 focus groups with over 100 representatives from distinct stakeholder groups: youth providers, health providers, merchants from Union and Lincoln Streets, stakeholders interested in parks and gardens, and 4th St. residents and businesses.
- A collaborative map installed at the library where people could post comments and ideas for specific locations in the West Side.
- Postcards from the Future to encourage residents to dream about what the West Side could be in 20 years.
- A business survey to gain the insights and ideas of local business owners on Union and Lincoln Streets
Take a look at the Plan
The West Side Revitalization Plan was completed in June 2012. Read an executive summary or read the entire plan by clicking on the cover to the right.
The recommendations are divided into six focus areas:
- OUR COMMUNITY IN OUR HANDS – focusing on empowering the community and bringing it together to improve quality of life,
- OUR YOUTH, OUR FUTURE – focusing on youth empowerment through educational opportunities in school and out,
- A PLACE TO CALL HOME – focusing on rehabilitating and improving existing housing and developing new housing for all income levels and diverse households,
- OPEN FOR BUSINESS – focusing on economic development to support thriving vibrant businesses that provide services and jobs,
- MOVING FORWARD– focusing on making streets safe and accessible for everyone, and
- WEST SIDE OUTSIDE – focusing on improving parks and gardens as places where neighbors and neighborhoods comes together.
As our community developed a plan for our future and started working together on turning that plan into reality, we decided to call ourselves West Side Grows Together. We hope you will join us!