Community Development Block Grant
Galveston, TX - Mayor Roger R. "Bo" Quiroga
Old Central/Carver Park Neighborhood Development
The Old Central/Carver Park neighborhood, with nearly 87 percent of its residents falling into low- and moderate-income categories, is the most depressed in the City of Galveston. This is a large neighborhood - its radius is two miles - that is plagued with problems of unemployment, deteriorated housing and declining infrastructure. This area has been hit particularly hard by the loss of port and industrial jobs that has affected the City overall during the past two decades.
With the goal of providing as many economic opportunities to the residents as possible, Galveston concentrated its 1997-98 CDBG funds in the Old Central/Carver Park area. It awarded 92 code enforcement contracts for demolition of uninhabitable structures, boarding-up of unsafe structures, and clearance of lots; these awards totaled more than $113,400. Of this total, more than $84,700 went into 75 contracts directed to area residents and businesses meeting HUD's Section 3 low- and very low-income criteria.
The area also received 12,244 feet of sidewalk - more than 40 blocks of sidewalk - and, as part of the Section 3 program, the City hired and trained six neighborhood residents to work part-time on sidewalk construction. Working through the Public Works Department, the residents were taught the kinds of marketable skills (i.e., cement masonry, cement finishing) that would help them find employment in the open market following the Old Central/Carver Park project. In fact, three of the workers were offered permanent positions with the Public Works Department, and another is opening his own paving company.
As part of the Old Central/Carver Park initiative, the City mounted an aggressive campaign to inform residents, particularly low- and moderate-income residents, of the activities that would be undertaken and the benefits they would produce. Ads were placed in mainstream newspapers as well as those targeting the minority community, and were distributed to churches and neighborhood associations. At the same time, partnerships formed with the churches, associations and other community leaders helped to convey to the residents that the City was sincere in its efforts to revitalize their neighborhood and provide job opportunities.
The impact of the aggressive code enforcement and the sidewalk installation project, Galveston officials say, is an improvement in the quality of life of neighborhood residents. The demolitions, board-ups and lot clearance activities have eliminated health and safety hazards, improved the overall appearance of the area, and provided income for neighborhood businesses and jobs for neighborhood residents. The sidewalk project linked the streets in the neighborhood together, providing sure footing for senior citizens, making it possible for children to walk safely to and from their schools, removing architectural barriers for persons with disabilities, and giving unskilled, unemployed residents an opportunity to learn a trade and develop the skills needed to secure permanent employment.
Contact: Sterling Patrick, Director, Community Development, (409) 766-2101
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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