On Tuesday night some people from Atlanta Metro came to Anniston to talk about a great community program called Yo Boulevard! This program was started by Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall. And he boldly declared 2012 the “Year of the Boulevard.” The Old Fourth Ward is a in-town Atlanta neighborhood that is infamous for section 8 housing and street drug sales. The main road running through this neighborhood is Boulevard which is a 4-lane city street. Kwanza Hall ambitious agenda for turning the Boulevard corridor around includes crime prevention, job training, education reform, economic development and summer youth programs. Here is a video address to the Tedx Atlanta community.
Tedx Atlanta attendees have helped to raise thousands of dollars to send neighborhood kids to summer camps so kids have a safe space to go and have experiences they wouldn’t have otherwise. Plus task forces were formed to focus on three challenges. They are: sponsor a child for summer camp, hire a child for a summer internship, and help a young person start a business and become an entrepreneur. The neighborhood has also changed with the addition of a police station, community garden, community clean-up days, and a block party. Here is a video of the summer back to school block party held a few months ago.
So the Yo Community! program is working for this neighborhood in Atlanta. Would a similar program work here in Anniston? Jay Tribby, Phd spoke to the crowd at the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce. One big challenge was poverty. In fact the Old Fourth Ward Neighborhood has the highest concentration of poverty in the southeastern U.S. Many people in the neighborhood live in section 8 housing and for some people their annual income is only $2900.
The focus of the “Year of the Boulevard” campaign is to help the children be successful in life. Many of the kids in this neighborhood have no opportunities for advancement in life and this campaign gives children experiences that will last a lifetime!
Many accomplishments have been achieved in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. And there are many more success stories to come. The biggest lesson from all of this is you need to know your community. Something the new leaders of Anniston could use!
West Anniston needs new ideas to help re-build themselves. The Chief Ladiga trail has plans to be built through West Anniston. And if the neighborhood is not safe cyclists will not ride through the area. The biggest idea from this was the West Anniston community needs a revenue stream to rebuild themselves. There has to be things in the area that could be sold to provide revenue. The West Anniston neighborhood also needs to have clean houses and safe streets. Sure Anniston has the idea of letting neighbors keep up the yards of abandoned lots and eventually they will get to own that land. But things needs to be done so kids have opportunities for a better life and adults have a chance to earn a living so they won’t turn to crime. I hope the new mayor Vaughn Stewart and the new city council will take a close look at the Yo Boulevard! campaign. Anniston can really benefit!
- Cindy the Pink Fire Truck in Anniston (geekalabama.com)
- Sunday Discussion: Anniston’s Future (geekalabama.com)
- Once Again; Another Useless Job Fair (geekalabama.com)
- Roadscapes Wednesday: Anniston Road Trouble (geekalabama.com)