(Plain Press, January 2010, Chuck Hoven) The Stockyard Redevelopment Organization (SRO) invited community leaders to a December 10th meeting at W. 58th Street Church of God, for the first of three meetings designed to help create a plan for the future of the Stockyard and Clark Fulton neighborhoods. Those in attendance included representatives of block clubs, churches, social service agencies, schools, area businesses, staff from development corporations in surrounding neighborhoods and the elected City Council Representatives in the newly formed Wards 14, 15 and 16 (Brian Cummins, Matt Zone and Jay Westbrook).
SRO Executive Director Al Brazynetz said the meeting was called in “hope of building toward the future.” Recommendations developed by the Stockyard Redevelopment Organization Board of Trustees call for an expanded service area that will encompass both the Stockyard and Clark Fulton neighborhoods and will stretch roughly from W. 25th to W. 85th, and from I-90 to I-71. The proposal calls for City Council Representatives to provide funds from their ward allocations based on the proportion of the population in their wards that fall in the new target area.
The proposal says Stockyard Redevelopment Organization would help provide services to Stockyards and Clark Fulton neighborhood—services such as “commercial and residential code enforcement, commercial development, business outreach, community organizing and community building, leadership training, housing program assistance and referral, vacant land reuse (parks, gardens, Train Avenue Greenway Plan, etc.), vacant property maintenance, neighborhood service (illegal dumping, Court Community Service, graffiti abatement, clean-ups), development of community partnerships and programs, public art, neighborhood based programming for all (Stockyard Steppers), youth and senior programming, and provide information and referral to community stakeholders (social services, housing resources, financial counseling, etc.)”
SRO hopes to increase its staff size to ten people to help address the needs of the two neighborhoods. The proposal outlines staffing recommendations that include administrative staff; housing and code enforcement staff; a staff member dedicated to vacant land management; a neighborhood service provider; and three community organizers including a safety coordinator.
Community leaders participating in the discussion noted the assets of the neighborhoods and of the SRO. Block Club leaders and members of area development corporations offered high praise for the quality of the SRO staff. They noted the loss of services to the community resulting from the layoff late last year of three hard working and enthusiastic staff members — a Neighborhood Services Provider, a Housing Program Manager and a Vacant Properties Manager. The leaders present called for the rehiring of lost staff and building a larger staff. They also called for increased collaboration with social service agencies, schools and other community stakeholders in developing an agenda for the future. Community leaders noted the unfair distribution of resources in the past and called for the long neglected neighborhoods to receive funding for services more in line with what surrounding neighborhoods are receiving.
Vacant land management was another key item mentioned by participants – developing gardens, green space and land for development. There was also a concern about the need for good quality jobs for area residents. It was suggested that the emerging organization could work to help with referrals to assist residents to qualify for jobs in emerging industries such as the Waste Recycling Plant proposed for the Ridge Road Transfer station.
Editor’s Note: Stockyard Redevelopment Organization will be sponsoring two community-wide meetings for all residents and business stakeholders in the Stockyard and Clark Fulton neighborhoods to explore the future of how services will be provided within the footprint of those two neighborhoods. The meetings will be held on Thursday evening January 14th, and February 25th at the West 58th Street Church of God (just south of Clark Avenue on W 58th) beginning at 6:30PM. All are welcome to attend and to offer their input. For more information, feel free to contact the Stockyard office at 216-961-7687.