FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City issues Zone Blitz Final Report
City officials released a report summarizing the results of the Community Listen Zone Blitz initiative, an 18-month pilot project that mobilized hundreds of partners to help improve the quality of life in the City’s northwest quadrant, also known as Zone 1.
City Manager Greg Burris and Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement Cora Scott provided a recap to City Council that included the significant progress points, including: $7 million dollars in public infrastructure improvements; the opening of the Job Center North and launch of workforce development programs, such as Change 1000, Green for Greene and Ozarks Promise; significant improvements in the community’s ability to address chronic nuisance properties; more than 1,000 smoke alarms installed in Zone 1 homes; the finalization of the Regional Community Health Needs Assessment and the launch of a Mental Health Needs Assessment; further development of community hubs Fairbanks and Springfield Dream Center and more than 5.5 million meals distributed in Zone 1, valued at $7.7 million dollars.
The Zone Blitz, followed a 2015 Community Listen tour in the nine Zone 1 neighborhoods, where City officials and partners asked two questions: what do you like best about your neighborhood and what would you like to see changed about your neighborhood?
Projects were identified and ultimately categorized into 11 topic areas, around which teams formed and got to work. The number of partners involved in the Zone Blitz topped 300 at one point, as organizations from the private, public and nonprofit sector worked together. The number of official projects was about 60, but the grassroots nature of the initiative led to dozens of additional community projects that were inspired by the Blitz.
“Zone Blitz will be remembered as the catalyst for a dynamic change that happened in our city - when people, from all walks and stations in life, reached across the divide and helped their neighbors in need,” said Zone 1 Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson.
“Because of the Blitz, churches in Springfield are moving from foreign missions to home missions and are truly embraced loving their neighbors. There are people in my zone who can lift up their heads because they found a path from poverty and despair to a good job or training, education, access to better healthcare, and hope. Most important of all, I see little children who have better lives and brighter futures.”
“Councilwoman Ferguson joined City Council shortly after the Community Listen tour was announced and became a champion for north Springfield, both assisting with the Blitz and tirelessly supporting her constituents in every other way,” said Scott. “Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious and we could not have made the progress we did without her leadership and persistence.”
According to Burris, the next steps include the City working with Prosper Springfield and other partners to critically evaluate the initiatives that seemed to work and then determine how they can be enhanced or expanded in other parts of the community as needed. The City will also work with Prosper Springfield and other partners to critically evaluate those projects that did not work, and determine whether these initiatives should be ended or re-engineered. Finally, the City will work with Prosper Springfield and other partners to share the success stories of the individuals and families who have become more prosperous as a result of collective efforts.
The lead work moving forward will be transitioned to Prosper Springfield Director Francine Pratt. Burris and Scott will remain on the Prosper Springfield Cabinet.
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For more information, contact Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, Cora Scott at 417-380-3352 or [email protected].