Mantua Residents Identify Action Steps to Discourage Crime, Make Neighborhood Safer

In the Mantua neighborhood, residents serving on the Safety Task Force have identified early implementation projects to discourage crime across the neighborhood.

The task force recommends creating a new and anonymous process for reporting illegal activity to help curb drug activity near the Mt Vernon Manor apartments. The process will be based on the anonymous reporting form provided by the 16th District Police department. The group also recommended implementing comprehensive, community-wide lighting improvements.

“The participation of everyone in this planning effort is second to none,” says Andrew Jenkins, who serves on the task force. Jenkins is the former president of the Mt Vernon Manor and has been an active, engaged resident in the community since 1961. “I am working with the committee to strengthen the representation and participation of the community. I want to make sure whatever we are doing for the neighborhood is comprehensive, to make sure it’s a joint effort.”

Task forces for the We Are Mantua! planning effort have met over the past few months to come up with recommendations for a comprehensive community plan.

The Safety Task Force has been meeting as part of a larger We Are Mantua! planning effort in Manuta thanks to a HUD Choice Neighborhoods planning grant awarded to Mt. Vernon Manor last year.

“The purpose is for Mantua stakeholders to take a community-driven, participatory approach,” explains Donna Griffin, a community organizer for the Choice Planning Initiative. She says that using resident feedback and engaging community members will help the stakeholders develop a plan that addresses Mantua’s core issues while transforming the neighborhood.

Task Forces comprised of neighborhood stakeholders, predominantly residents,,have been meeting several times a month since February. Each task forces focuses on a neighborhood issue, such as health and wellness, youth and recreation, education, safety, physical development, and workforce development.

Residents in different task forces also identified one primary problem: the lack of information about development in Mantua. To combat this issue, residents want to improve civic engagement. They are exploring possible strategies including the creation of a resource center, community council, or a more formal civic association. As Jenkins explains, “Our job right now is documentation of the plan. What you have to do next is organize under one umbrella organization to implement everything. That’s what we need for the security of our neighborhood.”

Whatever the venue, these engaged residents are looking for an opportunity to stay involved in the implementation of a community plan and to be part of their neighborhood’s revitalization. They are committed to an inclusive, collaborative, and resident-led process. “The emphasis should be on the residents’ participation,” Jenkins says. “This should be a unified effort not an individual effort. We are working towards unity.”

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