Through its ups and downs, Yvonne Green has loved the historic Independence Heights neighborhood where she volunteers. Now she is ready for the neighborhood to return to the community it once was.
What’s the difference?
“A neighborhood stands alone” Green said during a recent community gathering. “A community stands together.”
Green, a Booker T. Washington High School alum and member of the Parent Teacher Student Association, was among 40 leaders standing together at the January 23, Independence Heights GO Neighborhood meeting to plan for the historic community’s future. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) selected Independence Heights as one of its first Great Opportunities Neighborhoods in 2009. Through GO Neighborhoods, LISC helps transform distressed neighborhoods into sustainable communities that are good places to work, live and raise children.
The meeting in Independence Heights was a first-step in creating a roadmap for that change.
Residents recalled the Independence Heights in more glorious times – thriving businesses, well-kept homes and pride in a community that was the first city incorporated by Blacks in the state of Texas. Today, crime is on the rise, many businesses are boarded up, dilapidated properties are peppered among 232 abandoned or vacant lots between Loop 610 and 34th Street.
Still, said Tanya Debose, Executive Director of the Independence Heights Redevelopment Council, the people make Independence Heights a “great opportunities” neighborhood.
“People are our No. 1 strength – there is a strong bond of community camaraderie” Debose said.