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Community driven survey will determine plans for West Side redevelopment

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Who knows your neighborhood better than you do? That’s the philosophy behind a new community driven project to revitalize the west side.

Organizers for the ‘100 Homes 500 Families’ project are hoping to contract residents to collect the data they need.

The redevelopment plan will include new construction on the left over lots from the city’s vacant & abandoned properties initiative, ‘1000 Homes in 1000 Days.’ For every new house, they will rehab four current homes for the people who live there now.

Instead of hiring an outside agency to get more information about what the residents want, residents will be employed to go door to door and ask their neighbors what they want to see in the project.

“They’re a gatekeeper to the information that we’re looking for in those communities,” said Karl Nichols, the Executive Director of Community Wellness Partners. “You know it’s a lot different when you engage the people you want to speak to or want to help, no one wants to say hey we’re coming here to do this for you.”

Nichols is a part of the team who will recruit and train community members.

He says they will make $10.10 an hour and will gain certification they could use in the future.

He hopes neighbors will feel proud of the end results by taking part in the process.

“By incorporating community members in the creation of the survey and the creation of the research you’re truly engaging the community,” said Nichols. “If this project is going to move forward the way we envision It would decrease the apathy that the city feels about certain parts of the community and bridge some of those gaps that are there.”

They’re hoping to recruit and start training people by the end of the month so they can begin surveys in September.

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