Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NeighborWorks CEO Ken Wade Praises Resident Involvement in Local Redevelopment Plans

An effort to revitalize 10 of Milwaukee's low-income areas drew praise from NeighborWorks America CEO Ken Wade during a recent visit to the city. The plans to revitalize the Lindsay Heights and Clarke Square neighborhoods are part of a 10-year, $50 million commitment by local real estate developer and philanthropist Joseph Zilber to improve low-income neighborhoods.

But Wade’s praise was not delivered because of the scope of the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative. He was impressed with the level of resident involvement in developing the plans.

"Usually, it's professional planners, but engaging residents lets them present the vision for what they want, and professionals can then help the residents implement the plan," Wade said in an interview with the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel.

The plans were presented in conjunction with the NeighborWorks America Community Leadership Institute, a gathering of 900 grassroots community leaders from across the country. They met in Milwaukee last week to improve their skills and knowledge of how to rebuild their own low-income neighborhoods.

According to the Journal Sentinel’s report, more than 1,000 residents from the two neighborhoods participated over the past 10 months to brainstorm how to create quality-of-life plans that will guide the program's development. The residents focused on creating new jobs and economic development and improving parks, education, health, public safety and housing. Read more at jsonline.com.

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