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 outcome of that initiative, the Mantua Transformation Plan published in 2013, is the product of a community-driven planning effort carried out by MVMCDC and its partners. It provides residents, local officials and City agencies, HUD, and other community stakeholders with an analysis of how the Mantua history and present can inform the future evolution of our beloved neighborhoood, while also identifying several priority targets for community development and providing strategies for accomplishing resident goals in those areas. You can read a copy of the Plan HERE.
The CNI planning effort – nicknamed “We Are Mantua!” or “WAM!” – catalyzed several significant (and many ongoing) steps toward achieving equitable community development. The planning process itself provided an open and ongoing platform for communication between community residents and organizations investing in Mantua; re-energized the community by engaging and connecting residents while establishing an environment for new leadership opportunities; and refocused attention on Mantua by City agencies, funding agencies, and organizations.
Taken together, these efforts helped MVMCDC and our partners lay the cornerstones of success. Some of the early achievements that built on the plan’s foundation included the establishment of numerous community-centered civic engagement and leadership development initiatives, including the Mantua Civic Association, the Mantua youth group nicknamed DB4, and the McMichael School Community and Home School Association. (Further updates on our progress towards achieving the goals set out in the WAM Plan are available at our Impact Reports page.)
In 2013, MVMCDC was awarded the Opportunity & Empowerment Award by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association for our work on the We Are Mantua! Neighborhood Transformation Plan.