Neighborhood Empowerment

During the campaign, I received concerned feedback from many of you about our city's current and past neighborhood revitalization efforts. Many of you told me that you appreciated the successes of Lower Town and Fountain Avenue but felt neglected by the process overall. 

Our new mayor Brandi Harless has spent a lot of time talking about a "neighborhood empowerment" model and I have been learning about this approach over the past few months. 

As the Board of Commissions begins a discussion regarding the next site for revitalization, these issues and the empowerment model are once again front and center in our community. 

Many are concerned that the empowerment model is picking one or two properties in neighborhoods all over the city to renovate, instead of the focused efforts of the past. 

Let me say as clearly as I can...that is not the case. 

I understand the concerns that a "shotgun" approach would be an inefficient use of government resources and would not lead to the successful implementation of private investment that we have seen in Lower Town and Fountain Avenue.

I agree. That is why I am not - nor have I ever - considered such an approach.

The empowerment model is a fundamentally different approach to neighborhood revitalization but it is no less comprehensive. The responsible and efficient use of city resources - as well as the long-term success of any efforts we make - are of the utmost importance to me.

Over the next several months, I hope to share much, much more about this approach to revitalization and I look forward to future conversations regarding our efforts.

This city is only as strong as its citizens' investments in their own neighborhoods. How we decide to do that is not only a decision for the Commission to make but a conversation for the community to have as a whole.

I look forward to that conversation. 

Sarah Holland