Community Impact Celebrates Resident-Led Neighborhood Change

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Community Impact transformed The Chattanoogan ballroom into a community-wide block party on January 9 to celebrate resident-led change in the seven inner-city neighborhoods it has worked with over the last twelve years: Bushtown, Churchville, Glenwood, Highland Park, M. L. King, Orchard Knob and Southside. The event also featured the debut screening of From the Ground Up: The Impact of Community, a documentary produced by WTCI-PBS that focuses on Community Impact’s history and the residents who joined forces to lead change efforts in their neighborhoods.

The documentary will air on WTCI Thursday at 8 p.m.

“The residents of these seven neighborhoods should serve as an inspiration to us all,” said BettyeLynn Smith, executive director of Community Impact. “They took a stand for their neighborhoods because they believed in a better future for their communities. Our event celebrated everyone who has been instrumental to Community Impact’s work—board members, funding and program partners, staff and, most importantly, the residents who had the courage, conviction and perseverance to turn their neighborhoods around.”

Founded in 1999 through an innovative public-private funding partnership, Community Impact was the first local initiative to approach neighborhood change in a comprehensive, geographically targeted manner, focusing on both resident capacity building and physical revitalization. Initial funding partners included the Benwood Foundation, city of Chattanooga, Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, Lyndhurst Foundation, Public Education Foundation, United Way of Greater Chattanooga and Annie E. Casey Foundation. Later, the Maclellan Foundation, SunTrust Foundation, Tucker Foundation, Weldon F. Osborne Foundation and several private donors joined the effort.

The initiative was not about prescribing solutions for the neighborhoods — it was about helping each neighborhood re-knit the social fabric of their community and problem solve together, officials said.

“Community Impact was that beacon of light, that lighthouse that showed the pathway,” said LaMonte Vaughn, Sr., president of the Orchard Knob Neighborhood Watch Association. “They have empowered a lot of members of the neighborhood by instilling leadership qualities they didn’t know they had, and that is something we’ve taken a great deal of pride in.”-
A sense of pride is visible in every Community Impact neighborhood — in the banners on front porches, well-maintained yards, “porch talk” between neighbors, block parties, music festivals, youth activities and the many other examples of residents taking a stand against neighborhood threats, officials said.

They said working with Community Impact and its partners, the neighborhoods have achieved impressive results: 79 blighted or vacant properties have been removed or rehabbed, more than 50 crime hotspots have been eliminated, 60 homebuyers have received home purchase incentives that leveraged over $6 million in home sales, 130 residents have received façade grants to improve curb appeal and over 160 neighborhood leaders have been trained to serve as anchors of resident engagement and revitalization.

“While the quantifiable results are inspiring, the most important outcome of our work cannot be quantified,” said Jack Murrah, board chairman and one of the first board members of Community Impact. “Reconnecting the social networks and the beloved community again was critical for each neighborhood. When residents know and care about each other, they are better prepared to take a stand together against threats and sustain positive change in their neighborhood.”

As Community Impact concludes its work in March, officials said it leaves behind a legacy of resident-led change and best practices for stabilizing urban neighborhoods that can guide future neighborhood revitalization efforts in Chattanooga in the decades ahead.


Special Event Street Closures For June 30 - July 3

Here are upcoming special event street closures: Friday, June 30 Nightfall Concert Series :  Closures  include Market from 10th to 8th, MLK Blvd. from Broad St. to Georgia Ave. from  5:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m . The Nightfall Concert Series is free to the public and held each  Friday  till  Aug. 25  outdoors ... (click for more)

New Hamilton County Marriage Licenses

Here are the new marriage licenses from the County Clerk's office: TY JOSEPH GIDDINGS                                JOAN ELIZABETH DE FREECE 6836 RICHLAND RD                                  6324 HIXSON PIKE APT ... (click for more)

3 People Shot At Citgo On Glenwood Drive; 1 Dies

Three people were shot at a convenience store in Glenwood on Monday afternoon. One later died after being rushed to the hospital. A second person who was shot went to the hospital by personal vehicle. Police initially could not locate the third victim, but later confirmed another had been shot. The incident happened around 2:40 p.m. at the Citgo at 101 Glenwood Dr. (click for more)

Erlanger Pharmacies Sold To CVS For $10 Million; Units At East, North To Close

Retail pharmacies at Erlanger Health System are being sold to CVS for $10 million, officials said. The retail drug stores at Erlanger North in Red Bank and Erlanger East on Gunbarrel Road will close. Erlanger President Kevin Spiegel noted that CVS has its own pharmacies nearby those facilities. CVS will operate a pharmacy at the Medical Mall on the main Erlanger campus on ... (click for more)

Dennis Norwood: Through The Lens, My Early 4th Of July

Our wonderful nation’s birthday, the 4th of July, came early for me this year. Always one of my favorite holidays, perhaps it’s tied to that fact that my birthday is on Flag Day, this year’s early observance was extra special. The day was this past Sunday, June 25, and it came about as my wife and I attended a concert by our very favorite Christian artist, Sandi Patty, at Abba’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: California’s Foolishness

Over the weekend Hillary Clinton, the first runner-up in the latest presidential election, tweeted, “Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this (health) bill, they're the death party.” It was also being seriously debated if the psychotic action of the gunman who shot Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise was due to the repugnant rhetoric being increasingly spewed by other liberals. Great ... (click for more)