In 2011, Mt. Vernon Manor CDC was awarded a $250,000 HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) Planning Grant, a component of the federal Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, to lead the development of a neighborhood plan for Mantua. The Mantua Transformation Plan is the product of a community-driven planning effort carried out by the Mt. Vernon Manor Board of Directors and its partners. It provides HUD, elected officials, City agencies, stakeholders and the overall Mantua community with a summary of key strategies targeting the revitalization of Mt. Vernon Manor Apartments and the surrounding neighborhood. You can read a copy of the Plan HERE.
The CNI planning effort – baptized “We Are Mantua!” or “WAM!” – unlocked a variety of opportunities for the community. Most of all, it established a solid framework for the Plan’s successful implementation by:
- Providing an open and ongoing platform for communication between community residents and organizations investing in Mantua
- Re-energizing the community by engaging and connecting residents while establishing an environment for new leadership opportunities
- Refocusing attention on Mantua by City agencies, funding agencies, and organizations
Throughout the planning process, implementing multiple early action steps produced visible and positive change in Mantua. This maintained community interest while paving the way for future, long-lasting neighborhood interventions and opportunities for leadership, civic engagement and social cohesion. Early actions and victories included:
- Improved capacity at Mt. Vernon Manor, funded by LISC and The Philadelphia Foundation
- Establishment of new community engagement and leadership initiatives including:
- Mantua Civic Association
- Mantua Youth Leadership Advisory Committee – “DB 4″
- McMichael School Community and Home School Association
The seven priorities identified by the Mantua community were Quality Education, Economic Self-Sufficiency, Safety, Health, Housing, Neighborhood Amenities and Civic Engagement. Mt. Vernon Manor understands its critical role in maintaining an open and ongoing dialogue with the community about these key issues. We also aim to continue coordinating efforts between multiple partners in the public, private and non-profit sectors to advance the Plan’s implementation.
In 2013, The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association awarded Mt. Vernon Manor’s Mantua Transformation Plan its Opportunity & Empowerment Award for the We Are Mantua! Neighborhood Transformation Plan.