As many of you know, we received grant funds to support Community Dialogues around Equitable Land Use. The intention of the grant is to build trust between community members pertaining to the eventual land use for the area now occupied by the Boys Totem Town (BTT) residential treatment center.
The funds D1CC received were designed to bring citizens together to explore a shared vision of our community and to increase cross-cultural communications. A “Work Group” was formed to create a cohort of neighbors to facilitate outreach and to serve as a steering committee. Member’s roles were to learn about the planning process themselves, coordinate and run meetings, and help stimulate the imaginations of neighbors about the possibilities of the location. Three open community meetings were held that allowed for larger group discussion and two smaller groups visited the site. The outcomes of the committee and gatherings were extremely successful. Community members learned a great deal about the planning process, and we were able to gather meaningful information.
In reviewing our data, we realized that we haven’t had the level of engagement with low-income residents and communities of color that we had hoped. Through discussion and a review of the grant proposal, we will move into what we are calling "Phase 2.” This process will allow us to focus on the broader equity component of the project we originally proposed to the funder. In upcoming months, staff will be intentionally reaching out to and meeting with underrepresented community members to explain how land use works, and provide education on the government planning process. As meetings are scheduled, we hope to tap the valuable knowledge and experience of the Work Group members to assist with the outreach. Staff member Chia Lor will be spearheading this initiative. Work Group members should look for an email in upcoming weeks outlining ways that they can be involved.
It’s important to note that our current role is not to make a decision about what happens to the future of the BTT site. Our role is to increase dialogue, build trust and help develop a sense of community. Our hope is that all community members know what to expect when the time comes for the City and County to explore the future of the site. This is at least three years away.
At the conclusion of our grant initiative, District 1 will compile a list of themes that emerged throughout the process, and will share those with the funder, the county and city. If you participated in the previous planning process, and would like to submit a statement or testimonial about the project, please send you messages to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will try to include this information in our report. We wish to offer a huge Thank You to all the Work Group members who committed time and energy to our process!
SouthEast Community Org Staff