McCauley residents attending the CDC meeting on December 12. Paula E. Kirman
How about a year-round greenhouse business? A community garden? Creating a Gateway to McCauley? Buying problem properties? Increasing child care spaces? Creating affordable home ownership for families?
These were some of the inspired ideas residents came up with at the McCauley Community League-sponsored meeting on December 12 about the Community Development Corporation (CDC).
Most people at the meeting seemed to feel that the potential benefits of a CDC project in the neighbourhood outweighed the potential risks.
Some background: Last fall, City Council gave us three parcels of land in McCauley to the newly-formed CDC. The three sites are part of the seven City-owned sites worth about $10 million that Council transferred to the CDC.
A CDC is a non-profit company that creates and expands economic opportunities that improve social conditions for people living in poverty. It combats poverty through commercial or mixed-use development, community revitalization, and attracting more customers, businesses, and wealth to depressed areas.
The League organized the meeting in December so residents could learn about the CDC. It also wanted to kick-start the discussion about what could be built on the sites to improve our neighbourhood.
Some of the benefits of the community working with the CDC that people identified included: having some control over what’s built on the sites; an opportunity to create income for the community and jobs for residents; and engaging local entrepreneurs in creating something the community needs.
Some of the risks included: it being hard to agree on projects since diverse groups have different needs; whether the CDC has the capacity to follow through; and whether residents would be really engaged for the life of the projects.
The meeting in December was only the first step in a long process of residents exploring with the CDC how its resources can be leveraged to help renew McCauley.
Phil is President of the McCauley Community League.