Ravenstahl expects to get more information from the walk so he
can with the community organizations and activist. Community leaders
Ricky Burgess and Joe Preston were among the people in the community
walking through Homewood. They want to implement their vision and
strategy for the future of Homewood. Ravenstahl adds, "Our
message is clear and that is we are here to help and we want to
do what we can to get the resources in place to reinvest in Homewood.
"Certainly walking through Homewood gives Mayor Ravenstahl
and his administration a “birds-eye view” of some of
the problems and some of the things that we can do immediately,"
say Ricky Burgess. He says that there will be an immediate
impact and as a council office he is working on these things systematically
and with the administration they are showcasing particular hot spots.
"We are looking at houses and if they are condemned, we will
talk about having them removed. If they are not condemned, then
the houses will be rehabbed, concludes Burgess.
Joe Preston admits that it's been difficult trying to
get these buildings torn down or get the front sides merged. They
keep going from buyer to buyer. The owners no longer live
there and those that do have probably past away. Preston says, "After
six years of vacancy, the houses can not be rehabilitated. They
can only be torn down and the city is responsible for that to happen."
The city does not have the money, but what everyone is trying to
do as a whole community is come up with a comprehensive economic
development plan, by flattening out most of this area and rebuild
so people would want to live in Homewood.
"You have to tear down enough and totally rebuild.
The infrastructure is here because we can replace the telephones
lines and place them underground to make it look more appealing.
We do not need to have these
houses down in these alley ways. If you build the kind of houses
like you have in other areas that would be great. You have people
in this area doing drugs and other things they should not be doing.
People deserve a certain level of quality of life," Preston
Reverend John Wallace of the Bible Center Church in Homewood
has changed a house from residential to a community center. It was
an active crack house and they pulled our resources and revitalized
the house by churches and others to make Homewood a better place.
Mayor Ravenstahl thinks it's tremendous that Reverend Wallace has
been a active participant in so many different ways to try and help
take back Homewood is just another fine example.
"Reverend Wallace and his church have redone this
house without any help from the government. They put their
own money in this project and it shows you the opportunity and potential
of what can happen when you come together. You have seen the negative
parts that we just walked by and one block later you see the positive
impact the church is having. We need more partners like this and
we need more people to step up and try to help us help them make
this a better place to live," says Ravenstahl.
Reverend Wallace and his church found the house beause it is directly
behind his church. He says that you should your community work first
and then you do your church.