Neighborhood Reborn – Project I History
What began as an artistic board up project of Neighborhood Network of University Park (NNUP) funded by Akron Community Foundation has become a community effort to transform an entire neighborhood. Marissa Blewitt, community organizer for NNUP, enlisted the help of Andrea Metzler, Dot Org Solutions, and Rochelle Sibbio, Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, to discuss the project of boarding up homes with artistic boards to help deter crime, squatters and vandalism in the Roselawn/Excelsior neighborhood. After a lengthy conversation about how to ensure this project would help the neighborhood, additional ideas were brought to the table including offering residents in the neighborhood a chance to receive assistance at their properties as well ensuring the longevity of the revitalization.
Marissa, Andrea and Rochelle assembled a team of 19 community partners to scale the project to a complete overhaul and rebirth. Some of the changes to the neighborhood included:
- Vacant homes boarded up
- Homeowners received landscaping and minor repairs
- A common security feature installed
- Condemned homes torn down
- Debris removed
- Trees planted
All of this took place on June 17, United Way of Summit County’s annual Day of Action with the help of over 150 volunteers from both United Way and Habitat for Humanity of Summit County.
Now that the improvements are complete, additional care will be given to the area to assist residents in regards to neighborhood watch groups and other supports to keep the momentum of change in the area.