By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter
Lucas Metropolitan Housing unveiled their Junction – McClinton Nunn Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Draft Transformation Plan Wednesday, July 20, via Facebook livestream. The plan calls for a “thorough and dramatic change” in the Junction Area. The draft has been submitted to HUD with the final proposal due in December.
Kattie Bond, senior vice president of Operations and Community Development of Lucas Metropolitan Housing facilitated the meeting. The proposal is a partnership with LMH, the City of Toledo, Junction Coalition and community partners.
The Junction Neighborhood is defined as “[being] bounded by Dorr Street on the north, I-75 and Anthony Wayne Trail on the east, and the Norfolk & Southern Railway on the south and west.” This area is noted by the plan for decades of disinvestment, lack of commerce and lack of upward mobility for residents. The plan calls “to transform the Junction Neighborhood into a neighborhood of choice.” (source:www.junctionchoice.com)
Fifty-four participants attended the zoom call to present the plan that has undergone one and a half years of planning. President of LMH Joaquin Cintron Vega remarked that [the plan]: “represents the collective vision of this community and a blueprint for action.”
The project team for the Transformation Plan include: Kattie Bond, Joaquin Cintron Vega, Rosalyn Clemens of the City of Toledo, Charlie Hogan, Bill James, Tiffanie McNair of the City of Toledo, Kathleen Reigstad, Alicia Smith, Monica Smith and Matthew Sutter
The steering committee includes: Heather Baker, Jay Black of Pathway, Shantae Brownlee of Lucas County Land Bank, Malcolm Cunningham, Kim Cutcher of LISC, Elizabeth Ellis, Katina Gaston, Eunice Glover, State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Laura Koprowski of TARTA, Doni Miller of NHA, Tracee Perryman of Center of Hope Family Services, Alicia Smith of the Junction Coalition, Robert Smith of AALP, Kate Sommerfeld of ProMedica, Pastor Calvin Sweeney and Veronica Wilkes
William James, principal with Camiros, Ltd. and Katie Reistad, project planner of Camiros, Ltd. “a full-service planning, zoning, and urban design consultancy based in Chicago, IL (source www.camiros.com) presented the plan via Zoom Wednesday.
The “big picture” is for the area to be a “a successful 21st Century Urban Neighborhood” by:
- Transform(ing) the area from the inside out as well as from the outside in
- Elevat(ing) existing residents to create home grown reinvestment
- Draw(ing) new investment from the Downtown and Warehouse District
- Mak(ing) the Junction Neighborhood a distinctive “brand”
- Exciting housing choices; industrial lofts, renovations, new homes
- A multi-modal transportation system; cars, buses, bikes, walking
- High-level neighborhood aesthetics; architecture, streetscape, etc.
- Supportive services to every resident
The key street of this plan will be Nebraska Ave that will become a retail hub. The plan also calls to create a Junction Ave Heritage District. The key sites chosen are: St. Anthonv’s Church, Kingdom Life Christian Center, Junction Park, The Gudowski Building, Ujima Garden, Soul City Gym, The Junction Coalition, Liddell’s Barber Shop. Additionally, it calls for the development of an Art Tatum Zone and restoration of the famed musician’s home.
One of the primary aims is to make the “Junction Neighborhood [a] diverse neighborhood where people of all income levels blend seamlessly; a neighborhood with a place for everyone; and a neighborhood where no one is displaced.” The plan will achieve this by:
- Supporting existing businesses, including home-based businesses;
- Recognizing the importance of housing wealth and promoting more homeownership;
- Establishing a community kitchen to allow local food businesses to grow and expand;
- Bringing more educational resources to students who need them to close the “learning gap”;
- Offering neighborhood real estate investment trusts (NREITs) to allow residents to participate in local development projects, including affordable housing; and
- Training local residents to become construction contractors on new housing developments.
- Strengthen the physical connections between the Junction Neighborhood and the Downtown and Warehouse District;
- Make Nebraska Avenue the “Main Street” of the neighborhood by developing three nodes of retail at Collingwood Blvd., Hawley Street and Detroit Avenue;
- Transform Nebraska Avenue into a multimodal transportation facility to give people the choice of moving by car, bike, bus or walking;
- Make the neighborhood safe by effectively reducing gun violence through the Save Our Community program;
- Transform Swan Creek into a major asset offering a range of activities and attractions, including a quick multi-use trail to Downtown;
- Improve the appearance and function of key local streets; and
- Improve existing parks and create new parks along Swan Creek.
- Make all new housing development mixed-income developments.
- Prevent displacement of low- to moderate income residents by creating 825 units of income-restricted rental housing over time;
- Help low- to moderate-income homeowners to stay in their homes by providing financial assistance for rehabbing their houses;
- Transform the McClinton Nunn target housing site into an attractive mixed-income community offering a range of housing types,
- Maintain the existing single family character of the community by rehabbing existing homes and infilling vacant lots with single-family homes;
- Adaptively reuse vacant industrial buildings for multi-family residential, including new affordable housing;
- Transform vacant industrial land along Swan Creek into a new single family “neighborhood-within-a –neighborhood”.
The plan will be implemented over a 20-30 year time span. Some changes to the area are already underway– including the completion of Collingwood Green.
- Years : Collingwood Green Completion; LMH (underway), Six Block Area Residential Development Initiative, New Swan Creek Parks
- Years: McClinton Nun Target (could be completed in 2-4 years), Housing Site Redevelopment, Collingwood Blvd. Enhancement, Swan Creek Activation
- Years: City Park Avenue Enhancement, Nebraska Avenue Multi- Modal Improvement, Mobile Home Park/Single Family Redevelopment, Swan Creek Village Single Family Development
The draft proposal has been submitted to HUD. The full draft of the plan can be found on www.junctionchoice.com and the presentation Wednesday can be viewed on LMH’s Facebook page. The final proposal is due to be submitted to HUD in December. The group hopes to submit the plan early with the aim for November of this year.
A Q&A section was presented, some applauded the plan. Other community members raised questions as to whether there will be community agreements to the new retail spaces and how it was determined which housing will be preserved.
There was no comment as to whether there will be additional meetings held for input in the drafting stages.
A celebration of the proposal will be held at Warren AME Church, August 5, 1:00-3:30 PM.