Mon April 25, 2022 11:10 AM
A collaborative project led by the Niagara Falls Housing Authority will aim to revitalize a Niagara Falls neighborhood that has been described as “forgotten” by residents.
A resolution to allocate initial funding resources was passed April 12 by the Niagara Falls Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.
The commitment began with a $500,000 grant from the New York State Attorney General’s Office of the New York State Preservation Opportunities Program and Executive Director Clifford Scott. This initiative aims to draw attention to the issues facing the north end areas of Highland and Beech Avenues and the Jordan Gardens housing project, and establish a plan of engagement to make the necessary improvements to support the broader vision of the neighborhood.
A key part of the process is establishing a stakeholder group that will partner with the City of Niagara Falls. The stakeholder group will include 20 people who will have a significant voice in determining the development of the neighborhood. Anyone interested can be nominated by contacting the NFHA.
“The strength of a city is truly demonstrated by the investment it makes in its neighborhoods,” said Mayor Robert M. Restaino. “This investment proposed by the Housing Authority is certainly one of those projects that will showcase that kind of pride and that kind of excellence within our community.”
A press release noted, “The northern region faces a lack of jobs, transportation, security, access to a grocery store, etc. This lack of access is all the more alarming as this area is only minutes away from the bustling tourist area near the falls.
The NFHA, in conjunction with the City of Niagara Falls, presented a range of initiatives to address the challenges facing the North End. This includes rehabilitating the Jordan Gardens housing complex, improving public safety, updating infrastructure, creating community gardens, creating playgrounds and natural playgrounds for young people, the development of single family home ownership opportunities, the establishment of a mobile bank in the area, the creation of adjacent commercial and retail activities. at Ninth and Depot streets, and initiate and develop sustainable and growing workforce opportunities.
Scott has also identified a key group of consultants to support the project’s stakeholder group. Consultants have already been engaged and have been gathering input and feedback from the northern community. The press release said, “Tanya Mooza Zwahlen and Brooke Mayer of Highland Planning have been instrumental in representing the voices of the community when it comes to gathering feedback on residents’ wants and needs, as well as Tracy Diina Communications, which works to identify funding opportunities. and resources for the neighborhood.
“The consultants will be led by Sabina Ramsey, founder and CEO of Insight Communications, who has a long history as a strategic communications consultant and working with underserved communities.”
Ramsey said, “Our goal will be to support the community by continuing to listen to residents and making their collective voice heard through a range of different communication efforts to further strengthen opportunities for the region.”
Insight Communications spent the fall of 2021 interviewing residents for a video documentary called ‘The Voices of Jordan Gardens’ which was shown at the housing authority’s annual gala on April 21. The documentary highlights the various issues affecting the North End, as well as residents-led efforts to bring about positive change.
The first stakeholder group meeting will be held in May to kick off the neighborhood engagement plan in support of the North End revitalization vision.