City receives $100,000 grant to revitalize north Jonesboro

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation has awarded Jonesboro a $100,000 grant for a two-year city project. 

In a letter addressed to Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin, the Foundation agreed to "support the City of Jonesboro as the fiscal sponsor for North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative (NJNI)" from July 1, 2012, through July 1, 2014.


The grant proposal submitted to the WRF outlines a strategy to implement a neighborhood revitalization program for north Jonesboro.


Jonesboro mayor Harold Perrin said the ideas for the plan came from north Jonesboro residents.


"We reached out in the community. We've reached out in the churches. We've reached out to just about every sector to say, 'Hey, let's make sure that what we believe what needs to be done is right.'"


The plan, as outlined in the offer letter from Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, consists of:


-       Developing an NJNI Advisory Boards that includes residents and community partners to implement the North Jonesboro strategic plan

-       Developing a marketing plan with promotional materials and a video to educate North Jonesboro residents, business and education stakeholders, and the community at-large about the community change process

-       Organizing a team of AmeriCorps Service members to provide direct services to the community as identified by the strategic plan

-       Developing a youth advisory board to assist and inform the strategic activities of the main advisory board

-       Developing and implementing a North Jonesboro mini-grant program for neighborhood revitalization


The city will receive the funds in two installments. The city will receive the first installment of $458, 450 after the foundation receives formal agreement from the city.


The city will receive the second installment of $41, 550 around July 15, 2013.


City Councilman Dr. Charles Coleman, who serves on the grant initiative board, said the grant will provide the resources for people who live in north Jonesboro to clean up the community and learn how to help themselves.


"It's actually for us to do things ourselves. The money's there for schooling," he said."Some of the old buildings we have in our community need to be torn down so that we can beautify because it's a beautification grant too."


According to the city grants and community development administrator Heather Clements, the residents said the most important elements they want incorporated into the initiative is gaining access to quality education and job opportunities, and learning how to maintain healthy families and financial stability.


The initiative will start in north Jonesboro and branch out into other areas of the city. "We, of course, are going to move around to the entire city, but because north Jonesboro had some of the unemployment and poverty rates and crimes rates that they did, we decided to start there and engage the residents."


The North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative is part of a larger plan for Jonesboro, Vision 2030, Mayor Perrin said.


Vision 2030 is the comprehensive development plan adopted by the city in 1996 to spur growth in Jonesboro.


"It's just the beginning, and we are rocking and rolling, and I promise in 10 years it's going to look a lot different," said Clements.


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