Last night (Monday, June 24, 2019) I attended the second of Decatur City Council study sessions on neighborhood revitalization held at Main Street Church of God. At the previous study session, data gathered by city staff revealed the stark realities confronting most the neighborhoods adjacent to downtown, some of the oldest "additions" to the City of Decatur platted over 100 years ago. Clokey Park neighborhood is among these additions, but fortunately has not quite shared the same fate as Old Kings Orchard or the southern part of GM Square neighborhoods.
As the City Manager reminded the 30 attendees, what was presented to City Council is not a "plan" but rather a road map, with the general consensus of the Council to move forward by reaching first into the neighborhoods adjacent to downtown, prioritizing the Opportunity Zone census tracts, which may or may not conform with neighborhood boundaries (Clokey Park's census tract/Opportunity Zone actually stretches across East Eldorado Street and further south to East Clay rather than our boundary with East Wood).
Revitalization will happen. It will be approaching our neighborhood in time. Not next Tuesday, or even next year.
But dilapidated structures will be removed. Macon County Trustee lots will be fully acquired by the City of Decatur for redevelopment or partnership projects.
What can residents and businesses do to help revitalize Clokey Park?
Attend Clokey Park Neighborhood Association meetings held on the Third Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm at Prairie Avenue Christian Church.
Trim the hedges, plant flower beds, pick up litter.
Support our neighbors in business, shop locally, prioritizing the existing neighborhood businesses.
Start your resident membership of $10 a year for the Clokey Park Neighborhood Association.
Meet the neighbors (you may be surprised that most people don't know who lives next door!).
Porch parties, potlucks, picnic in Jasper Park.
Take an evening (or morning) walk around the block.
Inaction is surrender. Taking even the smallest of actions is moving our next chapter forward together.