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.


Pending Road/Lane Closures

There will be a lane shift at 1305 Dodson Ave. for installation of sidewalk ramps beginning Monday.   This project is scheduled to be completed on Friday.   Hours of operation each day are 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.   Traffic will be shifted and lanes narrowed to allow for the work to be done; motorists are advised to use caution when approaching and negotiating the work zone. ... (click for more)

Cleveland Municipal Building To Be Without Telephone Service On Friday For System Changes

The city of Cleveland Municipal Building will be without telephone service  Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.  while technicians make system changes. (click for more)

Chance Loftis Set To Be Freed From Jail After Jury Finds Him Guilty Of Only Misdemeanor Charge

Chance Loftis is set to be freed from jail on Monday after a Criminal Court jury on Friday afternoon found him guilty of only a minor charge. Instead of murder in the death of 46-year-old Donald Rogers, the jury in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole found him guilty of the lesser charge of reckless endangerment. He was found not guilty of aggravated animal cruelty in the beating ... (click for more)

Dr. David Seaberg Steps Down From Position As Dean For UT College Of Medicine In Chattanooga

David M. Stern, MD, executive dean of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine at UT Health Science Center (UTHSC), and Kevin Spiegel, president and CEO for Erlanger Health System, announced that  David Seaberg, MD, will be stepping down from the joint positions of dean of the UT College of Medicine, Chattanooga, and senior vice president of the Erlanger Health System. ... (click for more)

It's Time To Insure Tennessee

Tennessee has a problem.  What is the value of saving the lives of 1,000 Tennesseans each year? That is exactly what can be expected if 176,000 Tennesseans gain health insurance through Insure Tennessee. A New England Journal of Medicine study showed that expansion of Medicaid was associated with a 6% reduction in yearly mortality for people in the 34-65 age group. Statistically, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Magic Bank Account

As the month of January is almost out the door, I am opening my email today to share a marvelous story that legend has it was printed on piece of paper found in Bear Bryant’s wallet when he died in 1983. While I don’t know that the famed Alabama football coach had this lesson in his wallet, chances are he might have if he’d read it. * * * THE BANK ACCOUNT & RULES Imagine ... (click for more)