A coalition of nonprofits, The Northern Third Ward Consortium, has received a $100,000 planning grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation to develop a comprehensive, resident-driven revitalization plan for the Northern Third Ward. The Northern Third Ward Neighborhood Planning Project will result in the development of a comprehensive revitalization plan over the next 12 months, led by a planning consultant, that assesses community needs and provides a framework for ensuring equitable development.
The NTW Consortium is a strategic alliance that includes Change Happens, Change Happens CDC, Project Row Houses, Row House CDC, The University of Houston, Wheeler Avenue Triangle Ministries and the William A. Lawson Institute for Peace and Prosperity. The consortium, which represents community development, education, community engagement and social service organizations anchored in the neighborhood, shares the common goal of creating a resident-driven redevelopment plan that addresses the needs of residents, business owners, service providers and other neighborhood stakeholders. The project specifically addresses the Northern Third Ward, which is the 2.57 square miles area bounded by U.S. 59 to the west, I-45 to the north, Cullen Street to the east and Blodgett Street to the south. The plan will be strategically aligned with the concurrent planning efforts of other organizations in the Greater Third Ward.
“The work of the Northern Third Ward Neighborhood Planning Project will be conducted through an open and transparent process. The resulting plan will reflect the voice of the community,” said Helen Stagg, senior director of Change Happens. “The Wells Fargo Foundation shares in our vision to create a plan that will ensure equitable development in the Northern Third Ward.”
The neighborhood, located south of downtown, faces significant challenges that include high poverty rates, vacant land, and high rates of crime and drug use. With its proximity to downtown and Midtown neighborhood, the northern part of this historic Houston neighborhood is experiencing redevelopment from private developers. The Northern Third Ward Neighborhood Planning Project will study and provide analysis on existing conditions, and create a detailed, multi-year revitalization plan that address community needs and makes recommendation for equitable community investment and development. Residents will have the opportunity to share their voice on a variety of issues such as land use planning and urban design, community development, services for families and children, public safety, transportation, education, and parks and open space. Specific areas addressed in the plan will reflect the issues deemed most important by the residents.
“The Foundation saw great potential in this proposal, recognized the longstanding commitment the consortium has had in the Third Ward and is excited to support part of the revitalization plan that will benefit a historic Houston neighborhood and its residents,” said Darryl Montgomery, Greater Houston regional president for Wells Fargo.
The grant awarded to the NTW Consortium is part of a national pilot program by the Wells Fargo Foundation’s Neighborhood Grants Program. The NTW Consortium was established in November 2015 to jointly apply for the grant. As part of the funding award, the Foundation will review the fully integrated neighborhood revitalization plan next summer and it will be presented to the public, stakeholders and elected officials in August 2017.