The Bronze Triangle, CDC, a resident-led community development corporation encompassing the three urban San Diego neighborhoods of Grant Hill, Logan Heights and Stockton, is hosting a community “charrete” (a charrette is a collaborative effort by a group to work together, solve problems and generate ideas with the outcome being a creative, tangle action plan), on Saturday June 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Martin Luther King Elementary School. The charrette will bring together residents of these three neighborhoods with San Diego real estate experts including architects, builders, planners and lenders.
“This isn’t just an ordinary meeting where people complain about the problems in their neighborhoods,” said Gale Walker, board president and resident of the Bronze Triangle. “We will have facilitators who will engage participants in discussions and brainstorming sessions designed to elicit concrete ways to best revitalize these three neighborhoods in keeping with the residents’ vision of their community. The goal is to build upon the strong sense of community that exists and together come up with workable solutions that will then be used for the Bronze Triangle’s submittal to the City of San Diego’s ‘City of Villages’ pilot program.”
How the charrette will work
Large and small group discussions will tackle issues such as making streets safer, promoting homeownership, creating a pedestrian-oriented commercial retail center, stepping up neighborhood beautification efforts and encouraging community involvement. Facilitators and real estate professionals will work with large groups of residents to solicit ideas and input that will then be sketched and documented for large group discussions. The goal is for residents to review all the ideas and prioritize what they would like to see happen first using concrete designs and action items to accomplish the tasks. The outcome will be a revitalization master plan that the CDC will later use as an outline for the City of San Diego’s “City of Villages” pilot program application.
“We are hosting this event for residents to share their vision and goals for the community and to demonstrate that we, as residents, are united and willing to begin the process of rebuilding our neighborhoods from within to improve the quality of our own lives,” Walker said.
Preparation for the charrette
The CDC recently hosted two field trips, one in April and one earlier this month, to introduce community and business leaders to the three blighted neighborhoods in preparation for the charrette. Attendees of the field trips were taken on a bus tour of the three neighborhoods and given packets of information on the area to encourage potential partnerships for revitalization. In addition to the field trips, the resident-led CDC has already funded extensive research to obtain data on the neighborhoods and hosted two resident workshops in January 2002 to gain resident input for a neighborhood strategic plan, which has been completed as a first step in the community reinvestment pro-ject.
To involve a maximum number of residents in the charrette, a grassroots campaign was initiated to generate attendance. The campaign included a mass mailing in English and Spanish to all residents and businesses in the CDC neighborhoods; the posting of flyers in English and Spanish and flyer distribution to churches and schools in the area; and banners in English and Spanish were placed in front of the Bronze Triangle office on Imperial Avenue to inform and encourage all residents to attend and provide input. Walker also placed ads in local ethnic papers and gathered a group of residents to walk door-to-door to notify residents of the charrette.
“We want to make sure that residents and business owners in the Bronze Triangle neighborhoods were made aware of the community charrette because they are the best sources of inspiration and information,” Walker said. “We need every-one’s help to determine how beste to revitalize our neighborhoods and to seek long-term solutions for important issues like affordable housing. With the redevelopment and ballpark construction in East Village, which is on the doorstep of the Bronze Triangle, redevelopment is coming our way and as residents we want to take the initiative in planning what will be the best for our community.”
About The Bronze Triangle CDC
The Bronze Triangle CDC, a resident-led community development corporation formed in October 2000 by Gale R. Walker, is designed to create a self-reliant, self-sustaining community through community and economic development coupled with needed social services. The CDC serves the neighborhoods of Grant Hill, Stockton and Logan Heights. Their mission is to create social change by giving people the tools necessary to transform their destiny, to improve the quality of life and to stimulate development by creating the means of supportive networks designed to empower rather than perpetuate dependence.
For more information of the City of San Diego’s “City of Villages” pilot program, please visit their web site at http://www.sandiego.gov/cityofvillages/index.shtml.
The charrette will be at the Martin Luther King Elementary School, which is located at 415 31st Street.