The Emerson/Garfield Neighborhood Council is planning for its future.
At an Oct. 10 meeting, residents helped define some of the neighborhood’s main issues. At the next meeting, Nov. 14, residents will prioritize projects and vote on a neighborhood mission statement.
“We are turning things around pretty quickly because we want to keep the issues fresh in people’s minds,” said Megan Kennedy, vice chairwoman of the Emerson/Garfield Neighborhood Council and head of the council’s planning committee.
Among the neighborhood’s top priorities are pedestrian safety, beautification, business diversity and improved public transportation.
The area along North Monroe Street, from the intersection with Indiana Avenue to the bottom of the North Hill, showcases all those issues Kennedy said.
“That part of our neighborhood gets the most talk,” Kennedy said. “We have some wonderful local businesses there, but we also have a lot of empty buildings and really just one crosswalk.”
Last month, a woman and two children crossing Monroe Street near Mansfield Avenue were hit by a car, killing one child and severely injuring the other child and the woman.
“I know there were other factors in that accident,” Kennedy said, referring to methamphetamine being found in the woman’s blood. “But there really are very few places where you can safely cross that part of North Monroe.” Planting street trees and changing the traffic lane pattern – perhaps to just two lanes and a turn lane as was recently done on East Sprague Avenue near downtown – is something residents are talking about, Kennedy said.
Next Thursday, residents will prioritize the neighborhood’s needs and then work to produce a comprehensive neighborhood plan to be presented in May.
Kennedy said a new farmers market has been successful and a smaller concert series produced over the summer drew a lot of spectators, too.
“We are also looking for suggestions for neighborhood events,” Kennedy said.
The neighborhood council meets at Corbin Senior Center, which has become a natural focal point of the neighborhood.
“We have a great senior center,” Kennedy said, “but we are lacking a bit in youth services.” She added that some residents suggested Emerson/Garfield try to create its own community center.
“There were lots of great ideas at the meeting, now we need to prioritize things,” Kennedy said. “And we need to brainstorm for solutions.”