Community Focus: Strong Neighborhoods Initiative

Oklahoma City works on second Strong Neighborhoods Initiative with new communities (Credit: Oklahoma City).

Big revitalization plans for three neighborhoods in the Oklahoma City Inner core happening now. This is the second iteration of the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative. It's past success points to new communities in Oklahoma City soon being tipped from struggle to economically sustainable.

Out of eight neighborhoods that applied, two will be added to the program. They are Capitol View in the Northeast part of the city and Capitol Hill in the southern part. Culbertson's East Highland was part of the first SNI, and they will also be included in this year’s plans.

“They really wanted this, and that was part of the selection process. We wanted to see, not only do they have the capacity in their organization to be able to partner with us, but that they wanted us to be there, and that they would be a partner with us, “says Shannon Entz, Senior Planner with Oklahoma City

This revitalization is funded by Oklahoma City, through grants, and though HUD funding, and will work to improve property values in the selected neighborhoods, create more affordable housing, and develop community engagement programs.

“When we paint a house -- for example-- usually the next house is painted, and the next house is painted, and the whole neighborhood starts to look better, “says Entz.

Earlier this year, the Oklahoma City Police Department announced its effort to engage more of the community in the Capitol Hill area. City planners say this is coincidental, but that they will work together with the police's efforts to decrease the community's perception of crime and discrimination in the neighborhood.

Right now, the SNI team is finalizing its action plan and it needs to be approved before projects start in the summer.

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