Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Progressive Neighborhood Associations: Essential to a More Livable City

Damage from vandalism: acid etching removed from Divisadero store windows

An expense to city taxpayers: repairing damage from vandalism

An effective collaboration restores storefronts

City districts often flourish with active, forward-thinking neighborhood associations, especially when the groups foster collaborations with government, non-profit, and private entities. NOPNA has a long history of securing improvements for the North Panhandle through strategic partnerships. Early efforts include working with the Emerald Fund, the developer of the Village at Petrini Place and Lucky's grocery store, to support safety measures in the neighborhood, teaming up with local schools and churches -- Pacific Primary, the Day School. and St. Cyprian's Episcopal -- to promote bicycling, tree planting, and kids events, and planning with FIX MASONIC to make our western border a safer corridor.

The most recent evidence of a great collaboration was apparent along the Divisadero Commercial Corridor last week when contractors moved from storefront to storefront removing acid etch graffiti and installing protective film on vandalized windows. NOPNA and the Divisadero Merchants Association worked with the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) to land a $39,000 grant for the project. NOPNA served as the fiscal agent for the grant.

Ellyn Parker, the OEWD rep who works non-stop and appears everywhere in the neighborhood, coordinated efforts to secure the $39,000 grant. She also worked with neighborhood merchants to identify which storefronts needed the repairs most and which vendors were most affordable. As a result of the the groups' efforts -- and, of course, the creating of the grants program by the Mayor's Office -- two dozen storefronts will continue to enhance the appearance and livability along the new Divisadero Corridor.

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