Saturday, May 7, more than 40 people gathered at the Community Leadership Institute of Northwest Illinois, organized by NHS Freeport, Rockford Area Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Network.
The guest speaker, Michael F. Shubert of the Milwaukee Neighborhoods Initiative, explained a new framework for neighborhood revitalization, and urged neighborhood leaders, aldermen and others to work together to rebuild confidence and motivate people to invest time, energy and resources.
Attendees spoke about the good things in neighborhoods—diverse people and architecture, history, charm and supportive environments with childhood memories. They recognized positive changes, and not-so-positive changes, including some of the challenges facing neighborhoods and the people within them.
Shubert challenged them to stop doing the same ineffective programs over and over again. Attendees discussed specific topics such as what to do about foreclosures, how to get churches involved in their neighborhoods, community gardens, and listened to several neighborhoods tell about strategies that have been successful.
Calling out ideas, and solutions, attendees agreed to work together, Freeport and Rockford, to organize around the positive, work on creative solutions that will recognize assets, build trust, spark the spread, and create a ripple effect.
At the end of the day, Cyndie Hall of Neighborhood Network asked them to be part of an upcoming Quarterly Neighborhood leadership Council, and reminded them that “You don’t have to move to live in a better neighborhood.”
For more information, contact Neighborhood Network, 555 N. Court St., Suite 6, Rockford, IL 61103, or call (815) 967-4034, fax: 800-315-3736.
From the May 11-17, 2011 issue