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City of Peoria Press Release

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Peoria Takes Pride in its Neighborhoods

A combination of city funding and community volunteerism builds Neighborhood Pride program.


What often makes a community a great place to live is how people volunteer their time to help neighbors in need. In Peoria, with the help of city resources and guidance, volunteers are able to help homeowners in need of assistance by providing their skills, time and hard work. Since 1996, 53 neighborhoods and 1,246 homes have been painted, landscaped, and reinvigorated thanks to Neighborhood Pride projects.
“These neighborhoods are typically older, have more code enforcement issues, and in some cases, more crime,” said Neighborhood and Revitalization Administrator, Carin Imig. “This program helps stem the tide of decline through the inside by building neighborhood partnerships. At the end of a long day working with the residents, you can see the sense of pride and gratitude in their faces and you just know this effort has made a huge difference in their lives.”

The City of Peoria’s Planning and Community Development Department maintains an annual budget of $50,000 for these revitalization efforts and is able to stretch those resources through community partnerships. By reaching out to local businesses and volunteer organizations, the value of donated labor and material discounts was approximately $111,000 in 2011.

It takes more than supplies to revitalize a distressed neighborhood. People power, from volunteers and residents, is what makes the Neighborhood Pride program a success.
“It's a great opportunity for us to get out and utilize our resources to assist those who are in need. We feel like we have an obligation to use the resources we have to help those in need,” said Dave Williams, President, Peoria Stake of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

On a recent revitalization project in south Peoria, more than 200 volunteers, mostly from the church, made a difference in a neighborhood by repairing gates, painting homes and block walls, and shoveling tons of landscape gravel into yards. Not only do these efforts result in stark changes, frequently, these projects also result in reduced water usage for the residents through “xeriscaping” or low-water use principles.

Sheri McCracken, a Peoria resident whose home was one of the 12 homes worked on this day is grateful. “I think maybe next week it is going to hit me, when driving into the neighborhood and seeing all the improvement, which obviously it definitely needed. I definitely needed some help around the house. I felt bad at first, but what an opportunity to be a part of something like this. Being on the receiving end, I hope to pay it forward.”

The majority of neighborhoods benefitting from Neighborhood Pride activities are in the older, more mature areas of the City. Many of these areas are in the Acacia District, represented by councilmember Tony Rivero, who has participated in several projects since his election in 2011.

“The intention was to fix our walls, to fix our neighborhoods and to keep the value and the look of our neighborhoods. I think people are happy and I am happy to participate,” said Rivero.

Neighborhood Pride projects are selected through a data driven process that considers nominations and accounts from field inspections. Some of the variables include the concentration of foreclosed homes in area, the volume of code enforcement cases, age of housing stock, the number of one-story homes and the overall appearance of the neighborhood. Because volunteers are utilized, safety risk is minimized through work on one-story homes as opposed to two-story homes.

On a recent Saturday project, volunteers started to arrive before dawn. The supplies of paint, gravel and tools were provided and the work began. Often, volunteers and some of the area residents will work straight through until the early afternoon.

“They are so grateful, you get a chance to help them and you see what their houses looked like before and they tried their very best to keep them up and they want them to look good and you see what they look like afterword and it’s just beautiful,” said Dave Williams. “It is something they can be really proud of and you can see the homeowners beaming and it’s just wonderful.”

On this day, Sheri McCracken’s home received a fresh coat of paint. Her wood slat fence was mended and her front yard had a fresh layer of gravel. She helped where she could and provided the volunteers cookies. “It just makes you really believe in people again, and the kindness of their heart and helping people out, it's just overwhelming.”

For more information about Neighborhood Pride, please contact the Planning and Community Development Department’s Neighborhood and Revitalization Division at (623) 773-7667, or online at neighborhoodrevitalization@peoriaaz.gov.

Neighborhood Pride Projects – Statistics
53 Projects – (September 1996 – March 2012)
1246 Homes

Projects since October, 2010
Homes in area 119
Homes in project 85
Homes painted 63
Gravel placed 59
Yards Leveled 38
Fence- gate repair/
replaced 33
Yards sprayed –
weeds 65
Debris removed 104.11 tons
Organizations 32