On June 17, about 150 volunteers and 15 local organizations will band together to help improve the Middlebury/University Park neighborhood behind Dave’s Supermarket (Excelsior and Roselawn avenues). The work performed during this all-day event will include home repairs, landscaping, reclaiming lots from newly demolished homes, new trees and an “artistic board-up” of abandoned homes, among other improvements. Because there are so many stakeholders, we will feature them individually over the next couple of weeks. Here is a look at Habitat for Humanity of Summit County’s role in this expansive project.
Who is participating?
Rochelle Sibbio, President & CEO; Tim Crozier, Construction Manager; we will also have all of our site supervisors involved in the work day on June 17.
How are you involved?
HFH Summit County is one of the key partners in the project, bringing the construction knowledge from our site supervisors and funding to provide home repairs to the 11 owner occupied dwellings in the neighborhood. Huntington National Bank provided a grant of $10,000 and OMNOVA Solutions Foundation provided a $1,000 grant to Habitat so that all 11 homes can receive $1,000 worth of exterior home repairs. We are coordinating the Habitat volunteers that are assisting on the day of June 17 on these 11 homes, as well as the four homes being boarded up under the artistic board up project for NNUP.
Why did you get involved with this project?
This is exactly our mission and what we do – as part of our HFH programming locally we are engaged in Neighborhood Revitalization – this project is NR at its best. The Community Organizing portion has been completed by NNUP and now we (Habitat) can engage the owner occupied homes with much needed exterior repairs.
What outcomes have you seen since your organization’s involvement?
The first few meetings were between United Way, NNUP and Habitat. The project has grown to a total of 21 partners each doing a different part of the project and fitting a piece of the puzzle together. This is true community collaboration where we are all working together in the sandbox to build the castle.
What will your organization be doing during the June 17 event? Is your organization doing any work leading up to the event?
We are hosting the volunteers that are painting the plywood boards at our warehouse facility on June 4 to get the boards painted, cut, labeled and stacked per house address to be boarded on the June 17 event day. Each of the 11 owner occupied homes has a scope of work for exterior repairs to be completed including painting, landscaping, tree trimming, and general lawn cleanup. Our site supervisors will be at each of the 11 sites plus the four board up sites to ensure a smooth workday by all the corporate workgroup volunteers that both Habitat for Humanity of Summit County is providing along with those from United Way for the Day of Action.
What happens next? What does the future of the Roselawn/Excelsior neighborhood, the project and the community collaborations look like?
The goal is to create a splash landing page with the name Neighborhood Reborn as its own domain name so that we can continue to roll out a large scale project like this regularly moving from one neighborhood to the next all throughout Akron and Summit County. The website under construction, thanks to Dot Org Solutions, will be created to have a place for community residents to nominate their neighborhood. We are already planning to move to the next block of Roselawn/Excelsior/McGowan/Windsor for the next project and are currently working on the housing map to determine rental vs. homeownership. There are 53 parcels with eight vacant lots and 45 homes on that block. We envision this becoming a way for Akron’s neighborhoods to come together with the help of many partners to keep moving forward one block at a time.