ENGAGING AND SUPPORTING NEIGHBORHOODS
Third Ward CAPS: Community Activities Partnership Support
Reinvesting in core neighborhoods is central to revitalizing the riverfront. In 2012 a new neighborhood group was formed to address priority concerns of Third Ward residents: CAPS: Community Activities Partnership Support. To date, CAPS has conducted weekend neighborhood cleanups, thrown neighborhood events to bring together Third Ward residents, and advanced planning for a new Third Ward park.
CAPS first came together as a result of the Third Ward Healthy Neighborhoods project, funded through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This project, led through a partnership between the City of Freeport and the Stephenson County Health Department, engaged residents to “improve health and well-being and promote healthier, more vital neighborhoods in Freeport’s Third Ward.” Some of the identified strategies in the Healthy Neighborhoods Action Plan include:
- Continue to support CAPS and community engagement efforts to develop resident leaders and ensure the organization’s sustainability and self-sufficiency.
- Continue efforts to remain results- focused and provide continual updates to maintain momentum and interest amongst residents.
- Continually set goals and monitor progress in order to keep an up-to-date CAPS Action Plan.
- Secure partnerships to help bring resources, knowledge and networks to the table to implement the Action Plan
East Side Neighborhood Flood Mitigation
In 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offered the City of Freeport a unique resource to support priority planning needs and environmental justice concerns in Freeport’s East Side neighborhood. The planning team engaged neighborhood stakeholders which ultimately identified two primary focus areas: (1) reduce flood impacts and (2) reduce impacts of floodway regulations. Within these two goals, stakeholders then focused on more specific strategies:
- Reduce flood impacts:
- Address areas where floodwater enters the ground floor of homes and impacts private utilities
- Address areas where floodwaters complete block street access
- Ensure safe access for children, parents and staff at Taylor Park Elementary School
- Address standing water crated on Stephenson Street by the new sidewalks
- Design green infrastructure features to beautify the East Side neighborhood and the Stephenson Street entrance corridor
- Reduce Impacts of Floodway Regulations
Engage in dialogue with FEMA representatives and local, state, and federal elected officials regarding the disproportionate impact that floodway regulations have on East Side residents and work together to finding solutions to address these impacts.
- Continue coordination between the East Side neighborhood, City of Freeport, and USEPA
- Use the USEPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning grant funds to:
- Conducts a storm water infrastructure feasibility study
- Develop a plan that incorporates flood impact reduction and neighborhood revitalization goals
- Identify partners to contribute to implementation
- Explore formation of an East Side neighborhood association
- Engage FEMA and other relevant entities on how to reduce the disproportionate impacts of floodway regulations on the East Side neighborhood
A key part of strengthening Third Ward neighborhood is connecting neighborhood residents with economic opportunities, including resources to start and grow small businesses. In Fall 2013, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Urban and Regional Planning conducted a graduate student workshop which included an analysis of opportunities to strengthen existing minority-owned businesses, foster and support new minority-owned businesses, and build and maintain a strong entrepreneur community inclusive of minority entrepreneurs in Freeport. Key recommendations from this analysis included:
- Connect with local community leaders and create an inventory of minority-owned business ventures in Freeport
- Build capacity and access to capital through business training and personal and business finance knowledge by partnering with banks and private non-profit organizations
- Foster community support through buy local campaigns and spread the news about the positive community impacts generated by supporting local economies
- Develop an informal central body that manages and coordinates and communicates entrepreneur resources