In a bold move to boost a community long impoverished, the Northshore Community Foundation is spearheading a plan that will ensure a fresh new face to a Covington neighborhood rich in history and heritage. The largely African-American neighborhood, better known as the West 30s, will soon undergo a revitalization based on extensive input and involvement by stakeholders near and wide. NCF led the way by providing $150,000 for the creation of a Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for the project.
The final West 30s Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, prepared by the Walker Collaborative, a Nashville, Tenn., urban planning firm, was unveiled to inquiring community members in Covington in December. The completed plan moves the project from concept to implementation as neighbors take hold of fresh ideas promulgated by many months of research and fact-finding.
Northshore Community Foundation President and CEO Susan Bonnett commented, “When the residents of the West 30s see quick success, it will give them hope that their community can and will succeed. From the Foundation’s perspective, anything short of that is simply not an option.”
The West 30s neighborhood is a vital part of the Northshore community, as it is adjacent to Covington’s vibrant downtown. It provides a strategic juncture for fostering economic growth, stimulating new business and building communities for families to call home. Its decisive location between picturesque downtown Covington and thriving Collins Boulevard gives the neighborhood rich potential.
For 12 months, planners of the revitalization project conducted public and stakeholder meetings, an intensive planning charrette, two community surveys and numerous face-to-face interviews with residents and neighborhood leaders. The culmination of input produced a plan that is now ready to be put to work for the community. The plan encompasses pending issues of the West 30s neighborhood such as housing, economic development, transportation, parking, public spaces and urban design, and it utilizes tools such as zoning, code compliance, funding strategies and the creation of special economic development districts.
The revitalization plan unlocks many challenges the West 30s has faced for generations, prioritizing its greatest needs and providing an implementation strategy. Methods to address socio-economic roadblocks are included in the plan, as well as suggestions for the creation of new jobs, new businesses and the support of existing structures. There are recommendations for improvements to the neighborhood’s physical layout, emphasizing better sidewalks, streetscapes, pedestrian-friendly blocks and zoning changes to support mixed-use development.
The next steps include recommendations for a Community Development Corporation (CDC) to actively move the plan forward, programs for the repair of owner-occupied and rental housing, as well as job development, adult education and health care. The plan will employ a “Quick Victory” project to kick off the implementation phase. The West 30s Steering Committee has taken into consideration multiple attractive options and is committed to choosing a project that will provide the greatest impact on the community. The committee is currently conducting monthly meetings and community events to ensure that neighborhood residents are actively engaged in the final determination of the quick victory project.