Community Planning

Successful community planning involves defining the needs of the community, developing a shared vision of the future, and constructing a strategy to achieve that vision.

Since 1997 La Casa has engaged in a series of planning activities focused primarily in Newark’s Lower Broadway neighborhood, while continuing to support planning for the Mid and Upper Broadway communities. The first Lower Broadway Neighborhood Plan was created in 1999, updated in 2004 and again in 2007.  In 2011 a new neighborhood plan was completed as part of the Sustainable Communities initiative in collaboration with LISC and can be found by clicking HERE or opening it from the link to the right.

Recent planning elements include:

  • Completion of  “Transforming Lower Broadway, our Quality of Life Roadmap” with hundreds of residents and business owners.
  • La Casa in conjunction with the Project for Public Space development of a Façade and Streetscape Guidelines and Standards for the Lower Broadway Commercial Corridor.
  • The development of La Casa de Don Pedro’s Housing Design Guidelines and Standards were used in the development of the MLK Homes and served as a fore-runner and model for the City of Newark’s own revised housing design guidelines and standards.
  • Together with LISC and its affiliate Metro Edge a Market Scan of the commercial corridor and provide the basis for envision the revitalization of the commercial life of the corridor.
  • A Parking Study produced by Sam Schwartz for La Casa provided the database and basis for rethinking the parking situation and requirements for the Broadway Corridor and the City of Newark’s introduction of meter parking to enhance accessibility for consumers.

The 2007  Lower Broadway Plan was the catalyst for residential and commercial developments, such as:

  • The revitalization of two vacant properties including La Casa’s 39 Broadway community facility;  a $3.1 million commitment, and investment in the Broadway Commercial Corridor.
  • La Casa’s $8 million construction investment in the Broadway Broad Retail & Community facility.
  • These activities and others have in turn has encouraged additional private reinvestment in the existing as well as new businesses and properties within the Lower Broadway Commercial Corridor that is consistent with the goal of the Community Plan.
  • The City of Newark in conjunction with the Newark Urban Enterprise Zone use of the La Casa’s “Façade and Streetscape Guidelines & Standard” to support  the implementation of complete facelift to the Broadway Commercial Corridor, with a $800,000 for matching fund [$3 City to $1] for façade improvement  for participating businesses and property owners  and $1.4 for streetscape improvement.
  • La Casa’s affordable housing [see Affordable Housing Development projects] as well as market rate housing.
  • La Casa and the Lower Broadway community are focused on helping homeowners preserve their homes and investments despite threats of foreclosure from predatory and poor lending practices and the disastrous effects of the economic downturn.
  • La Casa received Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds I and II and is acquiring foreclosed properties to be renovated and return to use at affordable prices.

Planning (and Implementation) Today

La Casa works with a variety of resident and stakeholder to develop strategies and actions that lend support to the work developed under the visioning  work related to quality of life issues that were identified in the “Transforming Lower Broadway” community plan completed in 2011.  The foundation of these efforts was supporting the development of a new umbrella neighborhood organization called the “Lower Broadway Neighborhood Association.”  This association consists of leaders of the local block clubs, business owners, and other neighbors.  The intent of  the association is to serve as a common voice to speak out and address issues facing the community identified in the neighborhood planning process.  La Casa supports these developing leaders by connecting them to leadership training, educational workshops, and to the city’s decision makers.  The team is engaged in neighborhood building through the the development of a quarterly newsletter, promotion of community events, neighborhood beautification, have addressed traffic safety concerns through the installation of traffic lights and other traffic calming measures. among other successes.  La Casa has helped connect residents to the Newark Police in providing them safety training and addressing issues of violence and abandoned properties.  Planning and implementation is an on going process but is rooted in the empowerment of residents to identify what needs to be done, and connecting them to resources to make change.

City of Newark Master Plan

Based on La Casa’s  organizational capacity and its exciting if not innovative community planning work, La Casa is a major partner and contributor to the City of Newark’s efforts to revised the Master Plan and Zoning elements that will guide the city’s future and in particular the preservation and redevelopment of communities.

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