Sunday, February 6, 2011

WWNP: Residents Reflect on the First Five Years

Has the West Ward changed in the last five years? And if so, how?

Posted by: Noël Jones

Last Sunday, the Express-Times published an article by Ed Sieger reflecting on the first five years of the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership and whether or not after millions of dollars in grant funding, it has had a meaningful impact on the quality of life for residents in the West Ward.

The WWNP, among other things, has used the money to plant new trees, weatherize homes, plant community gardens, repair sidewalks, administer façade grants and perform green rehabbing around the neighborhood.

Please read the article and post your comments--what do you think? All comments welcome but I'm especially interested to hear from residents of the West Ward on this--please mention what area of the neighborhood you live in for reference!


David Caines said...

At least in our few block radius, butler / wolf by st.Anthony's, the effect has been pretty negligible. We have managed to get some of the years of garbage out of the back yards, and off of the escarpment, but the major changes are the result of the neighbors themselves changing their standard of living.
I'll admit like most that I focus on the negatives, but most of the people on the block are alright really, and since they are, we don't really notice them. The landlord and his local agent have been putting better or at least quiter people in the rentals as they become available, the more problem people have either been removed with a lot of help from EPD, or chosen to leave of their own accord.
Locally, our few blocks, WWNP has had pretty much no effect.
This is not to say that I think the group has no value, as clearly it has had some, but nothing that directly impacts our daily lives.
So, let's see what the next few years bring. Hopefully Dennis is a dot your "I"'s and cross your "T"s sort of guy and we can look forward to some local and lasting effect,

noel jones said...

Near my area of 8th & Ferry, there have been some visible positive changes in the last four years that I've been here--some due to the WWNP and other's due to the city's efforts:


1. A façade grant to a corner property
2. Some sidewalk repair (but it's hard to notice because the majority of the sidewalk on Ferry is still bad)
3. Several trees planted
4. Two community gardens that are now only four blocks from me in either direction

1. Street-sweeping program
2. A little quieter at night and slightly less visible drug dealing (but it's cold, so we'll see what spring/summer brings)
3. Officers much more responsive and respectful to residents
4. A green rehab project that is almost finished on the 700 block of Ferry (there is another one already completed and occupied on 10th and Ferry too)

[One thing to keep in mind is that all of the weatherization projects that the WWNP does are not visible from the outside]

Has anyone else noticed visible improvements? Please name your area of the neighborhood!

tunsie said...

I moved from the west ward in 1985 when my daddy died.I have lived in downtown since,but my favorite section is any section that has children playing right in the street,and then they move when a car comes down the road...thats what we did when we were kids.....tunsie

Cathy from School of Natural Learning said...

Children playing on Pine Street is how School of Natural Learning got started. These were very little kids up between 7th and 8th. It actually was a worry as there is a corner that cars whip around. We started doing artwork on the little bit of side walk. The West Ward Neighborhood Partnership gave us funding to take these kids to Hugh Moore Park throughout the summer. Since then they have given us funding to work in the daycares to bring the children outside into nature. Also funds to bring quality art supplies into EACC and now we have an area in that building to use as a youth art studio and gallery. On Northampton Street across from the WWNP we have a children's art gallery also - and we have received funds from LVAC and Kiwanis Club. Though I as a resident of the West Ward have had my criticisms over the years, the WWNP has been a great support of our programs for very young children - this maybe something not readily visible to residents who don't have children but it is really important for now and in the future. Too often we ignore children until we can't. Then the problem is much more expensive to fix. We are grateful to WWNP for paying attention to these needs, helping our youth to express themselves through art and to feel connected to nature.

David Caines said...

Thank you cathy, this is the sort of thing that kept us in the wwnp.
I have said that they have had a negligible effect on my block, but things such as this have a long term effect that can be hard to measure and such things are the reason we hold out hope.
Nature alone can build a culture, a shared culture that words can be at a loss to describe.

noel jones said...

Thanks for all you do for the neighborhood kids, Cathy. What I love most about your program is that it started organically, on the street, just neighbors reaching out to children independently of a program. I'm glad that the WWNP funds it now, but wouldn't it be great if we all had enough money that we could afford to do it on our own without the additional administrative headache?

Oh well--as my mother always said--"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

I also love that your program focuses on getting these kids our into NATURE and encourages them to learn through art and growing things, rather than just the usual regimented forms of education in our country. Some of the day cares here keep the kids inside most of the time, and then when they have outdoor time, it's just to walk up and down Northampton...awful!