RASHAD BYRDSONG

Despite having community plans that include guidelines for neighborhood approval of the types of development in their communities, where it can go, and who participates in the work, East Liberty and the Hill District have seen residents displaced, along with other results the community did not approve.

Homewood, by comparison, is ahead of the curve. Though the Urban Redevelopment Authority only just authorized hiring a consultant to create a comprehensive community plan for the neighborhood, Homewood has already done much of the work—thanks to proactive work by neighborhood agencies like Community Empowerment Association’s proactive talks with developers, and by Operation Better Block’s completion of the Homewood Cluster Vision Plan last year.

The URA only had to spend $150,000 for Texas-based Asakura Robinson to consult on the plan. By comparison, the Hill District Plan, starting from scratch, cost $250,000 almost 10 years ago.

“We’ve done all the survey work for designers ahead of time—they don’t have to do it,” Jackson said. “We were originally looking at dividing up Homewood into sections that we, as a staff, could survey for our programming, and it occurred to us—why not do that for development? So we did.

“We broke Homewood into nine clusters plus the business district, and we now have detailed land-use plans for all them,” Jackson said.

Not just detailed plans—but plans approved by the community, because the survey was conducted door-to-door, street-by-street. Rashad Byrdsong, CEA president and CEO, said Homewood has had multiple community meetings ahead of the URA’s contract approval.

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