The community – composed of English Woods, North Fairmount, and South Fairmount – is a community with many assets: it is located minutes from downtown, Uptown, and Interstate 75; it has a rich residential, industrial, and transportation history; it has numerous hillsides and excellent views of surrounding hillside communities, the Mill Creek valley, and of downtown; and it has long-time residents that are committed to the community.
Even with all of these assets, the community has suffered disinvestment and decline in quality-of-life over the past 30 years. The numbers are staggering: the community has lost a third of its popula- tion since 2000, two-thirds of the house- holds have incomes below $35,000 (and one-third are below $15,000), a quarter of the units are vacant, the unemployment rate for the neighborhoods range from 12 to 20%, and there are few essential services and businesses nearby.
While the list of challenges is great, the commitment and shared vision of community residents, stakeholders, and local partners resulting from this planning process can be marshaled to create the positive change needed to attract new residents and improve quality of life for current residents.
Housing, people, and neighborhood recommendations will first benefit current residents (in terms of housing quality, education and workforce opportunities, access to amenities, health, and safety) and will then work to rebuild the housing market to attract new residents who share the community’s vision which values diversity, engagement, historical and natural assets.
The plan looks to build on community anchors and future opportunities such as English Woods to the north, St. Leo the Great Catholic Parish on Baltimore Avenue in North Fairmount, and the Lick Run urban greenway in South Fairmount through strategic housing and commercial recom- mendations.
This plan is a direct response to the community’s collective voice. To make it a reality, community residents must take a leading role in its implementation along- side local partners.