Co-Op of New West Jackson, Transforming a Neighborhood
The Cooperative Community of New West Jackson (CO-OP NWJ) is a resident-led development model that seeks to revitalize community through a pioneering “inside out” strategy.
Beginning in an 8-block area, their mission is to find sustainable solutions to the chronic economic and social challenges they face by matching residents’ underemployed skillsets and abandoned property resources with a creative placemaking effort that centers on local food production, folk art, and rehabilitation.
How It Works
First, the abandoned properties are being acquired by residents that will be put into a community land trust. Second, the properties are being rehabilitated by residents who possess the requisite skill sets: construction, carpentry, bricklaying, electrical wiring, and plumbing, with salvaged materials. Third, the rehabilitated properties are being transformed into facilities the community needs and that can generate wealth.
Some uses for the properties include a culture center, bookstore, and a community owned bed and breakfast. Other ideas for creative uses also include turning houses into value-added productive facilities for enterprises spawned from the raw materials such as honey and goat milk harvested from the cooperative urban farm (currently in development) called the Grenada Street Folk Garden and Teaching Center, which recently became the first project in Mississippi to be awarded the prestigious ArtPlace America Grant in 2014.
Within the eight block area alone, there are over thirty-five blighted vacant and abandoned properties.Thirty-five of the properties, many of which are vacant and overgrown lots, are state-owned properties that can be acquired for approximately $50,000. To date, they have acquired four dilapidated houses and six vacant lots and the transformation is happening, however they would like to purchase the rest of the abandon properties in their neighborhood.
To view a short video of the recent progress, click on link below. Also you can help raise funds for the Cooperative Community of New West Jackson at the link below.
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