Strategic Neighborhood Initiative Action Plan
As a major part of the SNAP process, residents of the Holden Heights community developed a future vision for their community. This vision serves as an inspiration to all SNAP participants as they work to bring positive changes to Holden Heights. The following vision statement paints a word picture of how Holden Heights may look a few years in the future (after the action plan has been implemented). With that in mind, imagine this story from a Holden Heights resident written in 2036
Once upon a time, long ago, Kate Hill lived in the community of Holden Heights. The area was surrounded by two major roads; Interstate 4 to the east and Orange Blossom Trail to the west. Kate loved her community; in fact she was president of the Homeowner’s Association and School Board member. However, she could remember a time when things were not so good. In fact, they were pretty bleak compared to the rest of the standards of the magnificent new SNAP era.
Now, the year is 2036. Grandmother Kate Hill is enjoying her daily walk through the Holden Heights community. Let us listen in on a conversation that Grandmother Kate is having with 12 neighborhood kids. “Children, I remember when we didn’t have the beautiful 10 acre neighborhood youth center and commercial Town Center. The area was just rundown, with dilapidated housing.” “That’s just awful”, little Dedra lamented. “Yeah”, sighed Larry. “I remember all you kids attending Grand Avenue School.”
Grandmother Kate! Grandmother “Kate”, Malcolm screamed with excitement as they walked along the beautifully landscaped sidewalks down 22nd Street. For Malcolm had seen the names of Kate Hill, Sharon Parramore, Sherry Parramore and James Parramore engraved in the sidewalk – dated 2016. Grandmother Kate chuckled and said, “We were very excited about those threes being planted. Finally, we could walk to a community center that was in our neighborhood and play in the park without feeling afraid!”
As they walked along the street, Kate asked, “Why are the streets so clean?” “Well,” answered Kate, years ago the streets and neighborhood lawns were not so clean.” But not anymore as you can see, since the City and County and resident of Holden Heights formed “Work-Teams” to solve the problems once and for all. A similar kind of work-team was formed to eliminate the drugs along 18th and 20th streets.”
As they continue walking along the street, headed to the Community Center, the children turned and whispered to Grandmother Kate, “Thanks for working so hard to improve Holden Heights, we love you.” The tears streamed down Kate’s face as she placed her hands on their shoulders saying, “You’re not too young to join the monthly Work-Team meetings, join us at the newly developed Youth Center and Commercial Town Center.
As a major part of the SNAP Process, the Holden Heights participants illustrated the vision just described and developed an action plan to see this vision become a reality. The following pages outline a detailed plan to address the specific needs identified by citizens and to implement their vision. This action plan was developed by the five Work-Teams formed during the SNAP process.
The action plan is a compilation of the five individual action plans as developed by the Work-Teams. Each action plan is prefaced by a two-page overview of the identified community needs related to the team subject area. The overview also highlights the most important issues, to be addressed in the next three years. Following the overview is a detailed implementation schedule for the prioritized needs.
The implementation schedule identifies the team’s prioritized needs. Each need is followed by action tasks required to address the need. This results in a detailed process for addressing the needs in the Holden Heights community.
The action plan also identifies partners and resources for each action task. The partners and resources include City and County staff, citizens, private and public organizations, and other interested parties. The listed resources are not necessarily committed to solely funding or completing the task; they are listed as possible resources or partners. A timetable for the three- year implementation schedule is also provided. The timetable is a guideline for when the action task should be started (not necessarily when they will be completed). If the action will be initiated after the initial three-year planning period, it is considered a long range action. The timetable is an estimate based on current conditions and should be viewed with some flexibility.
Where to begin?
Without some “pioneering” development the appraised values will continue to decline. With declining low appraised values, there is no development. A coordinated approach is needed. Here are some possible components:
A targeted housing and business accelerate production zone would accomplish the “pioneering” residential and commercial developments.
Until such time as normal market forces begin to work, we need to jump start development activities by expanding the number of “public/private partnership" type real estate ventures.
Each deal will be different but in order to succeed, each will have to encompass a loose “partnership” between local governments, community-based development corporations, and the private sector. Creative use would be made of programs such as CDBG, joint venture investments by the private sector, “CRA” type initiatives by banks and intermediary support services.
As more and more of these deals are "coming out of the ground" the appraised value of the surrounding real estate will slowly creep upwards and private sector ventures will become more economically feasible.
As more new houses are constructed, the appraised value for the existing housing in the neighborhoods tend to rise and, as time goes on, normal market forces once again begin to operate.
Targeted code enforcement would go a long way towards upgrading the appraised value of land. This will also have an impact on the crime issue since drug dealers would no longer have access to abandoned buildings. The neighborhood will be more proactive in ensuring drug dealers stay away.
At present the vast majority of new construction projects take place in distant suburban areas and, as a result, inner-city based businesses are at a competitive disadvantage to compete.
Infill housing and business development should be encouraged by waiving impact fees such as sewers, park, schools, and so on to the homebuyer. In the alternative, for those fees not waived, their payment should be delayed / offset.
Increasing housing and business production would create economic opportunities for small businesses based in low income neighborhoods that are engaged in the construction trades (plumbers, electricians, carpenters, masons, landscapers, etc.).
The production expansion could be accomplished by utilizing CDBG, HOME and Surtax dollars; streamlining the construction approval process; making more predevelopment and administrative funding available; governmental, private partnership and community base non-profit property assembly assistance is the key this puzzle, etc.