Last Thursday, nearly 300 residents of the Diamond Neighborhoods, community leaders and members of our board and staff came together to celebrate our strategic plan for 2015-17 and the community input that created it at our Town Hall Series Launch.
This Town Hall event was the first in a series of meetings that will keep residents engaged in projects and programs aimed at revitalizing District 4. The next Town Hall will focus entirely on redevelopment projects planned for the area and will take place later this spring.
The evening began with an uplifting drumline performance from the Heartbeat Music Academy. Students of all ages brought guests to their feet and started the night off with a bang and a boom!
Members of the Heartbeat Music Academy perform for a packed room at the Town Hall Series Launch.
A program followed that included members of the community who had participated in the strategic planning process. They shared the four goals that guide our work. They include: “Personality,” “People,” “Place,” and “Programs.” Personality, relates to creating a sharpened brand identity for the Jacobs Center and improving communications and accountability. People, means increasing the number of engaged stakeholders. Place and Programs aim to improve the area’s quality of life through physical redevelopment and enhanced human development programs.
The program also included an update on redevelopment projects that are underway and planned to start construction this spring. Project’s like Rita’s Italian Ice (now open in Market Creek Plaza!) and the Walgreens being built near the corner of Euclid Avenue and Market Street are all part of our goal to develop our approximately 50 remaining acres in the next 10 years.
Among the upcoming projects is a facelift for Market Creek Plaza which will consist of a newly painted exterior, re-striped parking lot and landscaping. The Chollas Creek Restoration Project will break ground in April. This project will restore the natural beauty of a portion of Chollas Creek near Market Street and Guymon Street and will invite activity through the addition of art and a trail system. A Community Facilities District is being planned to fund infrastructure improvements in the Market Street and Euclid Avenue corridors. Improvements will include wider sidewalks, street lights and other infrastructure improvements. These features will help to attract developers, increase property values and establish Market Street as a vibrant activity corridor. We will issue tax exempt bonds to pay for these necessary upgrades. These bonds will only be applied to properties owned by the Jacobs Center and will be paid back through nominal property tax increases to their tenants.
The program ended with an inspiring spoken work performance by new Jacobs Center artist-in-residence Gill Sotu that captured the essence of community. Sotu called upon residents to work together to be part of the change in the Diamond Neighborhoods.
Jacobs Center artist-in-residence gives an inspiring spoken word performance at the Town Hall Series Launch.
Before and after the program residents learned about resources provided by community-based organizations related to workforce development and family strengthening, education, community engagement, arts and culture.
Community members learn about programs offered at the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Branch Library at the Town Hall Series Launch.
More photos and video of the event will be posted soon. In the meantime you can see what people are saying about our Town Hall Series Launch by searching #JacobsTownHall on social media.
Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the collaborative vision and plan for the Diamond Neighborhoods. And a very special thank you to the community partners who staffed tables and brought a wealth of information. Your work to engage residents is what builds a stronger community. The Town Hall Series Launch was the first step in our shared journey to revitalize the Diamond and we are so happy we were able to take it together.