Three years ago, Avenue began a planning process in Northline in partnership with residents and institutions in the neighborhood. Individual meetings with residents led to coffee with institutions, which led to more individual meetings, which led to conversations about safety, education, health, and big dreams for the community of Northline. After two years of planning, a $100,000 planning grant from the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, multiple small projects such as murals, clean ups, awnings, and many more, the community finally had a comprehensive health equity plan. This plan, made with and by the community is the “OUR Northline Plan”.
On June 2, as a celebration of three years of engagement and successes, the community came together for a Summer Family Festival. Some of the attendees were aware of the intention of the event, and others were surprised when, during the speeches, Regional Bank President for Wells Fargo, Tom DeBesse, announced that Wells Fargo Regional Foundation would be giving Avenue a $750,000 grant to carry out the implementation of the plan in Northline. Mayor Sylvester Turner mentioned during his remarks how important this support was, and how committed he was to the neighborhood and to making sure it got the support in deserved. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee highlighted the importance of diversity and culture, and Council Members Karla Cisneros and Amanda Edwards encouraged residents to stay involved and to continue to work hard for their community. This is an incredible achievement for Northline residents and is a clear representation of their hard work, commitment and tenacity.
In addition to the grant announcement, the Summer Family Festival was a great success for families and the community. There were 35 vendors present sharing their services and activities ranging from health, summer programming, education and many more. There was a clinic set up in the Clark Park Community Center that provided free immunizations, free blood pressure and glucose testing, and a private room for free HIV testing. There was little league baseball in the field provided by the Parks Department and a Soccer clinic provided by the YMCA. Over 550 residents enjoyed a hot summer day celebrating their neighborhood, eating hot dogs, nachos, popsicles and a wide variety of drinks all provided for free to everyone. It was a great day in the Northline Community and we hope to get the opportunity to have many more!
We want to give a special thanks to the YMCA for their amazing partnership, to METRO for their commitment to the neighborhood and for providing a free shuttle for senior citizens, to AARP for their Senior Tent, and to the University of Houston’s Community Design Resource Center for their beautiful work on the “OUR Northline Plan” and summary booklet. But most of all, we want to thank all the residents who got involved, shared their thoughts, and spoke up for their community!