More than 20 years ago, Beallwood neighborhood residents and community leaders worked to make the area one of the safest in the city. Now, NeighborWorks® Columbus is leading an effort to make it one of the prettiest.
Big 4 Beallwood is a neighborhood revitalization project, where several agencies will come together this summer to make an impact in the community through new construction, rehabilitation and landscaping projects.
NeighborWorks, TEAMeffort and Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity will all be doing various projects in the neighborhood starting this month in honor of NeighborWorks Week and National Homeownership Month.
Plans include rehabilitation and new construction of several homes. Late last month, staff and volunteers from NeighborWorks spent time mapping homes in the Beallwood neighborhood in preparation for the summer’s work.
As part of this system, every home was documented, photographed and surveyed about its condition as well as if the home is rented or owned. Some of the areas of note were whether the home needed any repairs, the condition of the lot, exterior characteristics like broken windows or doors or peeling paint, roof characteristics and the condition of porches, when applicable.
All of the owner-occupied properties were loaded to a database in which NeighborWorks staff determined which homes needed rehabilitation, said Rhonda Walters, Operations & Compliance Specialist.
Each component of NeighborWorks Columbus will be serving the Beallwood Community in some way through this effort. The Homeownership Center will be in the area teaching classes; the Rehabilitation program will complete renovations on one or more homes; and the Rebuilding Columbus Program will take on a cottage in the neighborhood. NeighborWorks also hopes to build six duplexes (a total of 12 units) for seniors and two new single family homes.
With the completed mapping, NeighborWorks has assigned 12 home renovation projects to TEAMeffort, an agency through whom church youth groups can sign up to do week-long mission work throughout the summer. Starting in June, around 50-75 students from across the country will be traveling to the city to take part in this effort.
And finally, Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity will be building four new homes at the same time.
Something that makes this project even more exciting is the rich history of the Beallwood Community. This neighborhood is a prime example of community action at work.
In 1994, the Beallwood Area Neighborhood Development, Inc. (B.A.N.D.) was formed in an effort to “take back the streets” from drug dealers and users in the community.
“There was a time where every Thursday night my husband and I would sit on corners with police officers watching for drug deals,” said Vicky Partin, co-founder of the Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry, who had a large hand in starting B.A.N.D.
Through the years, B.A.N.D. has accomplished things like getting their properties rezoned to residential, after they were wrongfully zoned commercial without the residents’ knowledge; they have driven out much of the drug use; held neighborhood cleanups; had enhancement programs for children; started a community garden; attended Leadership Academy classes held by the city.
“There are wonderful stories about Beallwood all around,” Vicky said.
Annie Slaughter, a resident of Beallwood for 40 years who has been a member of B.A.N.D. recalls some of the struggle to have a safe place to live.
“We had to fight hard to keep it,” she said.
This will be an exciting summer in Beallwood. If you would like more information on Big 4 Beallwood or want to join the effort, call Wanda Y. Jenkins at 706.324.HOME (4663).
docs/B4B Event Flyer 3.0.pdf