Emily Mills of Mansfield News Journal:
The North End Community Improvement Collaborative plans to update its goals for the North End to improve the neighborhood and create new opportunities.
NECIC representatives shared the new plan in the Blust Avenue Teaching Garden on Wednesday.
“Rather than it being a transportation plan or a law enforcement plan or a housing plan, this plan is from the standpoint of a resident,” said NECIC executive director Deanna West-Torrence. “It really brings together all of those things.”
The 157-page plan updates the organization’s previous 80-page plan, released in 2010 and adopted by Mansfield City Council in 2011, to see what changed and what didn’t over the last few years.
Starting in 2015, more than 350 people were surveyed to find out what they wanted to see in the North End, the area roughly north of Park Avenue between Trimble Road and North Main Street.
The new plan includes a community economic development plan with sections on land use, housing economic development, education, public infrastructure/transit, community spaces and health and safety.
The sections are the same as the old plan, save for health and safety.
“That was really driven by residents who told us the number-one concern right now was a lot of violence,” West-Torrence said.
The new section focuses on youth violence in the community, something the Mansfield Community Against Violence, or M-CAV, is trying to combat through mentorship, said NECIC community development manager Tony Chinni.
“They need mentorship,” Chinni said. “Somebody that cares about them, somebody, you know, that’s in their corner.”
One of the most significant recommendations in the 2010 plan, which remains in the new plan, was decreasing blight in the North End, something most residents requested.
Since 2009, more than 250 properties have been demolished in the North End.
Chinni said he was surprised to learn many residents are now upset so many homes are being demolished.
“It’s like you’re taking something and not putting something back,” he said. “We were just so happy to get this stuff torn down, sometimes I think you forget about the people that are living right there in the neighborhood.”