National initiative helps local neighborhoods improve - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

National initiative helps local neighborhoods improve

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - -

Neighbors in the Frayser community are coming together to share ideas as part of a nationwide push to better our communities. 

It's all a part of President Obama's Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to change struggling neighborhoods like Frayser for the better. 

The area is one of eight neighborhoods across the country picked to be a part of this effort to improve communities from the bottom up by going to residents to identify problems and the best ways to tackle them.

"In many instances we are considered the worst of Memphis," Frayser 2020 Plan Site Director Shep Wilbun said, "We have three of the five crime hotspots the city has identified, we had the highest foreclosure rate of any neighborhood in Memphis, and we have over 1500 vacant houses." 

But residents in Frayser say it's time to turn things around. 

"We're here today to show where we've come from, where we are and to ask them to help us get ideas and solutions on how we can begin to get what works to transform Frayser," Wilbun said. 

Community leaders are starting with identifying Frayser's biggest problems. 

"Frayser has been a community that has suffered so much disinvestment, so much lack of involvement, it has all the issues that an urban inner city community faces," Wilbun said. 

Community leaders are also learning from other communities.

"Just as folks downtown got together 20 years ago, downtown was a ghost town; five years ago, the Broad Avenue corridor, businesses were closed, shuttered, look at it now," Mayor AC Wharton said, "It all comes about when neighbors get together, that's precisely what they're doing here it does pay off." 

Though the program is still in its early stages, residents say they already see a difference. 

"With the council that's happening, I'm starting to see people getting together and caring about the community," Resident Vinessa Brown said, "They're taking everyone's ideas, putting it together, and it's growing." 

"I love the fact that the council seems to reach out to the community to make decisions based on what they believe and what they feel, actually reaching out to the community and getting input from the different entities of the community," Frayser High School Teacher Ashleigh Jackson said. 

They're all hoping to put those ideas toward federal grants to help build a better Frayser. 

"It's a growing community, it's a beautiful community, and it's going to get better," Brown said. 

Right now the Frayser Neighborhood Council is looking for input from residents to possibly seek out federal grants that could help them achieve those goals.

You can give your input here: http://www.fraysernc.org/

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