The city of Tulsa is trying a new idea to revitalize neighborhoods in need of help.
Community leaders said your neighborhood environment can significantly affect your overall quality of life. The city’s new vibrant neighborhoods partnership program aims to use federal and other public investment funds to help needy neighborhoods thrive. Emily Scott, of the Tulsa Planning Office, said they had selected areas across the city to be eligible for the program.
“This program is designed to holistically improve a neighborhood’s physical, economic, social, and service environment,” said Scott, a neighborhood redevelopment planner.
The city uses various housing market indicators to find places that are ripe for improvement. Scott told News On 6 that they also deal with social concepts such as crime and safety, education and employment levels, and health and wellbeing.
“We’re going a little further and starting to understand what some of these neighborhoods might need,” said Scott.
Scott said they rely on community partners like Katie Plohocky who can deliver things the city can’t.
“To be able to help the community rise up and create the opportunities they want, not what we think is necessary,” said Plohocky, executive director of the Healthy Community Store Initiative.
Plohocky said she had developed a strategy to decentralize the food system and rebuild it locally.
“To build the capacities and infrastructures of our local farmers, leverage economies of scale by combining the purchasing power of the small store format with access to wholesale distribution. We would act as distributors for our grocery center and ramps to ramps add value, additional opportunities for new business development that would then provide inventory for the stores, ”Plohocky said.
The participating neighborhoods will take part in the planning process with the city to identify the needs of the community, followed by two to three years of work. This includes improving pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, art and beautification, food access initiatives, quality of housing, youth programs and public safety support.
“The community members, the individual residents involved, that’s the core of this program and it’s really their vision that we support,” said Scott.
The application deadline is March 5th. Scott told Channel 6 that both individual residents and a collective corporation can apply. All you need is a contact person and a neighborhood sponsor – an organization, group, or organization that is willing to support the neighborhood through the process. The city hopes to start the process with at least one neighborhood by March 31, and plans to help others in the near future. The city is holding information workshops in February for those who wish to apply.
More information can be found here.