Pathfinder Community Connections will launch a Livability Study in historic Drover Town (see map) in March led by engaged citizen-volunteers. The community-driven assessment officially launches implementation of the recent $662,000 funding commitment award from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), which designated Huntington as a Community for a Lifetime. According to IHCDA, a Community for a Lifetime is a place that promotes physical, social, mental and economic well being for persons of all abilities across the lifespan; in other words, a “Livable” community. Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters, an avid supporter of the effort, will participate in the door-to-door survey.
The neighborhood assessment will occur during the months of March and April. Teams of community development volunteers will walk the neighborhood to both evaluate the physical condition of the area and personally collect feedback from the citizens of Drover Town. Volunteers will have identification badges, so residents are encouraged to request identification of surveyors.
Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters will walk side-by-side with volunteers. Fetters commented, “The Drover Town neighborhood assessment is a very important step in making the best use of the Communities for a Lifetime Grant and I am excited that it will begin soon. I encourage residents of the neighborhood to take the time to talk with the volunteers and complete the short survey. Citizen input is vital, and will be used to help build the best plan for making the neighborhood a better place. I would also encourage residents to consider volunteering to help with the door-to-door survey process.”
Data collected through the Livability Assessment will identify opportunities for neighborhood enhancement to help Drover Town realize its full potential as a Community for a Lifetime.
Currently planned enhancements include:
- Rehabilitation of older, owner-occupied homes to improve accessibility for people with mobility issues
- Increased energy efficiency in the homes
- Sidewalk improvements to enhance accessibility, safety and walk-ability
- Organization of Neighborhood Block Clubs to facilitate neighborhood improvement action-planning while strengthening and rebuilding a sense of community
Chris Kauffman, Outcome Measurement Director at Pathfinder Services and leader of the project, emphasized the need for grass roots involvement stating, “The assessment is designed to collect data from the people who make Drover Town their home. Residents know better than anyone what would make their neighborhood a more livable place.” Kauffman added, “Data is likewise essential to provide measureable project outcomes which will evaluate the effectiveness of the work done and help make the case for future funding.
Success of the assessment relies on committed citizen-volunteers. “Volunteer surveyors will work in teams of two,” stated Kauffman, adding, “all that is required of volunteers is a willingness to engage residents in conversations about their experience in the neighborhood – how they currently perceive it and ideas on how to make it a better place to live”.
Volunteers’ commitment will entail approximately two to four hours per week for two to four weeks. Training will be provided. If interested in volunteering feel free to recruit a friend and contact Chris Kauffman at [email protected] or Kristen Spiegel at [email protected] or call 260-356-0500.