Fight The Blight
The North End
The North End neighborhood of Mansfield, Ohio equates roughly with census tracts 6 & 7. NECIC defines the North End as the region bordered by Trimble Road on its west, North Main Street on its east, Park Avenue West on its south, and Longview Avenue on its north.
The more we know about the people who make up the North End community the better prepared we are to identify, nurture, and mobilize neighborhood assets. If you are a North End resident, please take a few moments to download, print, and complete one of the following surveys and mail it to:
P.O. Box 954
Mansfield, OH 44901
Click Here to tell us about your skills and abilities.
Click Here to tell us about your neighborhood.
With this information, we hope to help people contribute to improving the community, to find jobs or to start businesses.
The mission of the North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. is to improve the quality of life for North End residents by identifying, supporting, and connecting local and regional assets and advancing community economic development in Mansfield’s North End.
NECIC’s vision is “as a result of our efforts over the last 20 years, the North End in 2028 is a community of significant prosperity and innovation. While in 2008, we were considered a drain on the local economy, today we are the leading engine of economic vitality, arts, and positive youth and civic engagement within the city of Mansfield.”
North End Community Economic Development Plan
Over the past three years NECIC has been compiling a North End Community Economic Development Plan. This plan was guided and shaped with input from North End residents and stakeholders and now the time has come to bring the plan full circle. NECIC would like to take this opportunity to present the final draft of the plan which integrates all of the community input we received during our forty-five day review period. From here, the plan will be presented to Mansfield City Council to be formally adopted as part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. While the formal forty-five day public review process is officially over, NECIC is always open to input from residents and other stakeholders. Please take a moment and read the linked Pdf of the plan. Any comments, concerns or critiques are always welcome. Contact Deanna West-Torrence or Tony Chinni at (419) 525-3101 or email feedback toTony@necic-ohio.org. Thank you in advance for helping us transform Mansfield’s North End.
View the plan here: North End Community Economic Development Plan 6/11/2010
On Tuesday, February 15, 2011 Mansfield City Council unanimously passed bill #11-024, “a resolution supporting the North End Comprehensive Community Economic Development Plan and its recommendations and target areas.” The Board, staff and members of NECIC would like to thank the Administration and City Council for their public support of NECIC’s work and of the recommendations within the North End Comprehensive Plan.
NECIC Newsletter – North End Matters
Check out the latest issue of North End Matters for up to date information about NECIC and the North End community.
A longtime resident herself, Deanna West-Torrence found herself returning to the North End neighborhood throughout her life. Each time she returned, she found the same friendly people with lifelong relationships, but the appearance of the neighborhood had changed drastically. The schools were closed, the neighborhood businesses had decreased and the once well-kept houses were deteriorating. At the same time, she found her own family experiencing much of what so many others were facing. Following a divorce, she became a single mother, raising four young children on the North End. In 1999, Deanna began working for a brand new non-profit organization, the Community Health Access Project, inc. (CHAP) that was focused on the high infant mortality and low birth weight rate facing African American women on the North End. She eventually became the Assistant Executive Director of CHAP and the Program Director for the Mansfield CHAP site. During her tenure at CHAP, Deanna was elected to represent the 5th Ward on Mansfield City Council where she served for four years. Upon leaving CHAP in 2004, and City Council, she was hired to lead the Neighborhood Youth Corps (now City’s Department of Regional Community Advancement) at the Ocie Hill Neighborhood Center until NECIC began in 2007. Over the years, Deanna has also served on the Mansfield City School Board, and countless other boards, task forces and advisory committees.
In 2007, Deanna and other residents and community leaders founded the North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC) with a mission to improve the quality of life for North End residents by identifying, supporting and connecting local assets and advancing community economic development in Mansfield’s North End. She has led the organization since its inception and oversees a staff of five. The organization is the first of its kind in the community, utilizing Asset Based Community Development to address longstanding issues in the areas of youth development, housing, leadership, and community involvement. Her broad perspective of the North End is informed, primarily, by her own experience, but is complemented by her public service on City Council and the School board, and from her work in and with the non-profit, youth development, education and business communities.
Deanna attended Rebecca Grubaugh, Creveling and Discovery Schools, Johnny Appleseed Middle School and graduated from Malabar High School in 1987. She then attended the University of Cincinnati and the Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Community Economic Development. Deanna is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership’s African American Leadership Program in 2005, and the Harvard Kennedy School for executive Education in 2011. She has managed local non-profits for more than thirteen years.
Deanna is the proud mother of three adult sons and an adult daughter. Her sons Adam and Taj, live and work in Greenville, South Carolina, and Elijah, is a full time student at North Central State College. Her daughter Maya is a Dental Technician at the US Navy Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland.
Leona Smith, Office Manager/Volunteer Coordinator
Leona has been involved with NECIC since 2010 when she participated in our North End Talented Ten (NETT) internship program. As a youth intern, Leona learned the ins and outs of non-profit management by job shadowing the Executive Director for six months. Leona’s experience and familiarity with the work of NECIC made her a perfect candidate for the NECIC team and she was hired in 2013.
In addition to Leona providing support to the Executive Director on the day-to-day financial management of the organization, she also supports the elder and small grants programs, and coordinates NECIC volunteers. Additionally, Leona is currently being trained to coordinate NECIC’s future housing programs.
Leona is a 2009 graduate of Mansfield Senior High School and is the proud mother of her son Cameron.
Jean Taddie, Community Garden/Local Foods Program Coordinator
When Jean joined NECIC as a Community Organizer in August 2007, she was responsible for launching NECIC’s elder program, small grant program, and faith-based advisory council. Jean began working with community gardeners in 2008, serving as a hub for small grant funding, donated garden resources, educational programs, and networking among gardeners. Now known as the Raising Richland Community Garden Network, the group has grown to 25 community and school food gardens and includes hundreds of gardeners.
Since July 2013, Jean has been NECIC’s Community Garden/Local Foods Program Coordinator, responsible for launching NECIC’s North End Local Foods Initiative. Through this initiative, Jean is working to increase economic opportunities for North End residents and improve access to healthy food in the North End, while promoting and supporting locally grown food around the county and region.
Jean is active in our community, and she serves on the Local Foods/Ag Sector, Citizen Action, Earth Stewardship, OSU Extension Advisory, and Richland County Master Gardener Executive Committees, among others.
Jean holds a Bachelors degree in Human Resource Management and a Masters in Communication. Before joining NECIC, she taught public speaking, business writing and other communication classes for 10 years at colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio. Jean has nurtured her own backyard food garden since 1989 and has been a Richland County Master Gardener Volunteer since 2004.
Sam Dunn, Community Organizer
Hired in 2007, Sam brings years of working experience and community involvement to the NECIC team. With over 30 years of experience in retail management at Montgomery Wards, Sam was also a Consumer Lender with Richland Bank, until he was promoted to Branch Manager/CRA. Sam has an Associate’s degree in Business Administration from North Central State College. In his spare time, Sam conducted workshops on Small Business Development and Money Management at the Ocie Hill Neighborhood Center. Sam also served as President of the local Habitat For Humanity and as a payroll specialist for Richland County Corrections before joining the NECIC team. Sam currently serves his community as a member of a variety of local boards including: The Richland County Homeless Coalition, The Mansfield Conversion Academies, The Richland County Organization for Disaster Assistance, The Braintree Business Development Center’s Appleseed Microfinance committee, and Homestead Place, Inc. Sam is also involved with the Richland County Regional Planning Commission as well as The Richland Community Development Group’s Banking and North Main Street Beautification Sectors. In 2012, Sam was elected to City Council to represent citizens of Mansfield’s 4th Ward. Sam is lead program staff for NECIC’s Community Tool Shed, Home Improvement Grant and Forever FREE financial literacy programs.
Tony Chinni, Community Development Coordinator
Tony is a 2007 graduate of the Ohio State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in European History. Tony joined the NECIC team as an intern during the summer of 2007 during which time he aided the executive director in establishing the nascent organization and compiled an economic base assessment of Mansfield’s North End. From 2008 to 2011, Tony worked with NECIC staff and consultants to compile The North End Community Economic Development Plan. This document, guided by input from more than three hundred North End residents and stakeholders, articulates NECIC’s vision for the redevelopment of the North End. Tony is the editor of NECIC’s quarterly newsletter North End Matters, he maintains NECIC’s web site and internet presence and oversees the design of all NECIC marketing materials. Tony coordinates research and data collection for a variety of grant and program projects. He is also lead program staff responsible for the Youth Media and Oral History Projects. In 2013, Tony was tapped to lead all of NECIC’s housing related work. He was born and raised in Mansfield and is a 1994 graduate of Mansfield Senior High.
Board Of Directors
Col. Michael Howard
Rev. James Cosby
Ms. Deanna West-Torrence
Mrs. Dorothy Brightwell
Mrs. Beth Reitler
Ex Officio President
Mrs. Carol Payton
Mr. Joseph Mudra
Mr. Donald Adley
Rev. Loretta Norris
Mrs. Stacey Young
Mrs. Mary Bolin
Mr. Matt Huffman
Mrs. Mona Kneuss
Ms. Marcia Webb
Ms. Giselle Lindsay
Donating does not necessarily mean making monetary contributions. Through volunteering and community engagement, North End residents can help to improve the community. Engagement can mean attending city council meetings, writing letters to the editor, or any activity that can have a positive effect on the community. For more information about becoming a volunteer please contact or visit our office. Donations can be made through the “Donate” button below or by contacting our office directly.
NECIC’s first community project was a tool lending library where North End residents come to borrow a wide variety of yard and garden tools. The tool shed operates on the honor system by which residents are expected to “pay it forward” by aiding others in the community. From lawnmowers and snow blowers to hedge trimmers and rakes, the NECIC tool shed has a tool for every season and most yard and garden jobs. All tools are to be returned the same day so plan accordingly. Residents must be 18 years old, provide a photo I.D. and phone number, and supply their own transportation to borrow a tool. Effective May 15, 2012, there is a $5 monthly maintenance fee for all mechanical equipment. All non-mechanical tools are still FREE to use. If tools are used to generate income or used more than once weekly, an additional $2 donation will be requested per visit.
Tool Shed In The News
North End residents age 60 and over are invited to join the North End Elder Program, which meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the United Steelworkers Local 169 located at 376 W. Longview Avenue. The 2nd Tuesday event features speakers on topics of interest to seniors, while the 4th Tuesday event includes social activities: both include lunch. The Elder Program has its arms open to all North End seniors, and participants have commented that it is a great way to see old friends, reminisce and pass the time, as well as gain valuable information about important topics to seniors.
The goal of the program is to socialize and educate North End seniors, as well as receive input, news, and updates about the area and its citizens. To ensure NECIC responds to the concerns of our 60+ residents, a North End Elder has a designated seat on our Board. The Elder planning team plans all activities and speakers, and requests a small donation for each event.
The Elder Program has grown a great deal since the first meeting held in September 2007. Guest speakers discussing a wide range of issues are a basic part of the program; neighborhood safety, public education, health-related concerns, and financial planning have been common themes. In order to combine entertainment with information, the program also supports hands on activities including: bingo, arts and crafts, and line dancing to name a few.
NECIC’s Small Grants Program is proud to support community projects proposed by seniors. Past activities North End Elders have organized include: bus trips to Amish Country and a Cuyahoga River/Lake Erie cruise, Pampering Me makeover program with Mansfield Senior High cosmetology students, a slumber party, and a paper product giveaway.
NECIC hopes to further promote our strongest program through more participation of North End seniors and community members. Traditionally seniors have been important leaders; and a community has looked to their elders for their wisdom, guidance, and historical perspective. Through increased involvement in community activities and planning, seniors can have a positive impact on the quality of life in the North End.
How can you get involved?
1. Community Engagement
Engagement can mean attending city council meetings, writing letters to the editor, or any activity that can have a positive effect on the community. For more information about becoming a volunteer or contributing a tax-deductible donation, please contact or visit our office.
Call NECIC at 419-525-3101 to reserve your seat at our next luncheon.
Do you have a good idea for your neighborhood? Join with your North End neighbors and apply for a Small Grant of up to $250 to support projects or events that benefit the North End of Mansfield and advance the goals of NECIC’s Community Economic Development Plan. The North End Small Grant program is intended to help connect people, promote neighborhood pride, encourage community involvement, and support volunteerism, while providing a public benefit to the North End community. The Small Grant program helps advance the North End Community Economic Development (CED) Plan, which is a roadmap for the future of Mansfield’s North End. More than 300 residents helped identify the visions and goals for the North End, so applications that address those goals will be given priority (for more details, see the CED Plan, which is posted at: http://www.necic-ohio.org/#4).
NECIC Small Grants funds can be used to purchase supplies, etc. in support of projects or events that benefit the North End community. Funding requests must come from either: a minimum of three residents representing three North End households, or a minimum of two organizations (churches, non-profits, service clubs, etc.) that serve the North End and will match NECIC funds dollar-for-dollar. At least one representative of your proposed project or event must attend a brief workshop Tuesday, December 17th from 6-7 pm in order to be eligible for funding. Please contact NECIC to make other arrangements if unable to attend. NECIC has funded more than thirteen rounds of small grants since the program’s inception in 2007. View a slideshow of previously funded small grant proposals here: Small Grants Slideshow
Have a project or idea?
If you are a North End resident you and your neighbors may be eligible for an NECIC small grant. To fill out an application or for more information please contact Tony Chinni at (419) 525-3101 or Tony@necic-ohio.org. Applications for the Fall round of small grants are due by 4 pm, Tuesday October 15, 2013.
To download an application Click Here
Raising Richland Community Garden Grants
NECIC would like to thank everyone who applied for a Raising Richland Community Garden Grant. For instructions to facilitate the payment of your grant award click here.
Raising Richland Community Garden grantees must complete and submit the following form, along with receipts and photos, to NECIC within 30 days after the completion of the grant-funded project. To download the required small grant summary form click here.
Financial Responsibility Empowerment Enterprise
A project of NECIC’s Faith Based Advisory Council and Leadership Institute
The mission of Forever FREE is to provide a holistic, faith-based collaboration that empowers individuals of all levels of income, situation and circumstance to become budget savvy, financially aware, literate and responsible. All services will respect the individual’s confidentiality.
Forever FREE provides financial education classes and one-on-one money mentoring for North End residents and members of participating faith-based organizations. Money mentors build relationships with the people they are mentoring, working with them over time to improve financial know-how.
Mentors come from associated faith-based organizations and each mentoring session is individualized to meet the needs of the participant. Money mentors utilize OSU Extension’s Master Money Mentor curriculum and have received at least eight hours of training. Some topics to be covered include, but are not limited to: budgeting, savings, credit cards, credit reports and scores, car loans,and mortgages.
The Faith Based Advisory Council, a network of organizations located in Mansfield’s North End, has provided valuable insight and leadership in addressing the issues most important to citizens of the North End, which is why a member has a permanent place on our board. Representatives from 28 faith-based and related organizations have participated in the Faith Based Advisory Council, which continues to grow.
The Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation, NECIC, Mechanics Savings Bank, The Ohio State University Extension Office, Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Providence Baptist Church, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Bethesda Fellowship Ministry Center, and Trinity Gospel Church.
* This list represents the initial faith-based organizations and community partners for the program. We anticipate and encourage more organizations to join. If you would like information on how you or your organization can be a part of Forever FREE or if you’d like to meet with a money mentor or schedule a financial education class for your group, contact Forever FREE at NECIC 419-525-3101.
Automotive Recycling Project
NECIC has partnered with Milliron Auto Parts to inform the community and raise awareness about the importance of recycling junk vehicles in our streets and alley ways. Junk vehicles are not only an eyesore that is prone to vandalism and a potential safety risk to children, they are detrimental to our environment as well.
Milliron Auto Parts is paying between $200 and $350 for these junk vehicles as well as the cost of towing them away. In addition, North End residents can receive an additional $25.00 for their junk vehicles simply by verifying their address is within Mansfield’s North End. It should be noted that in order to turn in a junk vehicle the vehicle’s owner must present an auto title bearing their name. NECIC would like to encourage residents to take full advantage of this opportunity and help beautify the neighborhoods one junk automobile at a time.
For more information call Jason Stoots at Milliron Auto Parts 419-747-4566.
Candidate’s Night and Issues Forum – 10/16/13
Candidate’s Night – 9/11/13
2013 Raising Richland Community Garden Summit:
Jonathan Hull: Beyond the Veggie Patch: Alternative Strategies for Community Gardens
Jim Chatfield – Common Problems in the Vegetable Garden
Doug Schuster – Space Saving Garden Solutions
Fracking Bad For Mansfield
Oral History Project Promo
Fight The Blight – A Tale Of Two Neighbors
Who Is NECIC?
Community Tool Shed
The first half of a presentation describing the NECIC’s Comprehensive Plan for the North End.
The second half of a presentation describing the NECIC’s Comprehensive Plan for the North End.
North End elders share the gift of song at their February 24, 2009 gathering.
Click here to see more.
NECIC In The News:
Click the following link for the “Vacant and Overgrown” article from the June 26, 2011 Mansfield News Journal regarding the increase in neighborhood blight in Mansfield: Blight
From the 6/7/11 Mansfield News Journal:
The following is a PDF of a Mansfield News Journal article on the North End Community Economic Development Plan. The recommendations and target areas articulated in the plan received unanimous support by city council on Tuesday, February 15th. This article appeared on Sunday, February 27th. Mansfield News Journal February 27, 2011
The following is a PDF of a Mansfield News Journal article on the neighborhood sector of the Richland County Development Group. NECIC community organizer Jean Taddie and North End resident Matthew Stanfield are interviewed regarding “asset mapping,” community gardening and community development in general. The original story appeared on September 27, 2010. Mansfield News Journal September 27, 2010
The following story aired Monday, July 27, 2010 on WKYC channel 3 out of Cleveland:
The stories linked below were aired on WMFD, the local Mansfield television station:
Getting Ready For Spring
An article from The Mansfield News Journal (2/17/13) about planning for Spring planting: Here We Grow
Community Gardening Overview
For a general overview of Community Gardening on the North End and throughout Richland County see our Community Garden Brochure
Community Gardening Resources
Community Gardening 101 by NECIC Community Organizer Jean Taddie: Community Gardening 101
The Welcome Garden story: Welcome Garden
Tips for growing garlic in Ohio: A Year In The Life Of Garlic
Master Gardener Volunteer list of most commonly used books: Books
A simple tutorial on growing vegetables: Vegetable Class
Also see the following issues of NECIC’s North End News newsletter for stories about Community Gardening:
Download this issue here: Issue 6 – October 2010
Download this issue here: Issue 13 – July 2012
NECIC recognizes our youth as one of our most valuable assets. Their success is necessary to the overall revitalization of the North End and of the city of Mansfield. To this end, we have developed the following youth organizing initiatives:
North End Talented Ten (NETT) Interns
In December of 2010, NECIC hosted the North End Talented Ten (NETT), an internship program for North End youth based on a concept by intellectual leader and civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois. The internship program was divided into two phases, phase one was heavily focused on learning about NECIC’s work including the day to day operation of a non-profit, the fundamentals of Asset Based Community Development and Community Economic Development. Each NECIC staff member was assigned two interns. Theda Shaw and Leona Smith shadowed Executive Director Deanna West-Torrence, TreVonn Lucas and Tyrell Shaw shadowed Community Organizer Sam Dunn, Kineesha Kiah and Doretha Chatman shadowed Community Organizer Jean Taddie, Brittany Miner and Kymarious Jackson shadowed Community Organizer Shanican Pender, while Cordereo Bentley and Matt Ayers shadowed Community Development Coordinator Tony Chinni. The second phase of the NETT program was focused on community involvement where the interns applied what they learned to a community clean-up project. Clean-ups were scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays weather permitting. In addition to picking up trash and running lawn mowers, the NETT interns were charged with undertaking tasks relevant to their respective supervisor’s role within NECIC. For example, those interns learning about community organizing were in charge of rallying members of the community to assist with the clean-ups and to sustain our efforts after we were done. Others were in charge of maintaining and distributing lawn mowers and other necessary equipment and tools like gloves and trash bags. Still others were responsible for photographing and documenting the clean-ups, creating a report to share with interested members of the community.
North End Youth Corps
The North End Youth Corps are youth between the ages of 18 and 25 who share their insight, opinions and perspective with NECIC. They are the future of the North End and lend their physical and mental resources through neighborhood clean ups, leadership training and educational pursuits.
North End Youth Media Project
The majority of what we “know” about the world around us is shaped by the media. Therefore, the more we understand the crucial role of the media and the processes involved in its creation, the better prepared we will be to make informed decisions and the more likely we will be to question and critically evaluate any and all information presented as “truth”. The goal of the North End Youth Media Project is to actively engage young people to think critically about their role in their community and society and the myriad of ways that the media affects all aspects of their lives.
North End Mentoring Program
The North End Mentoring Program – provides intergenerational connections aimed at reducing the number of North End youth entering our Juvenile Justice system. North End youth are paired with adults for individual and group mentoring activities. Through relationships with mentors, who have often had similar experiences, our young people gain confidence, learn to communicate, and develop trusting relationships with adults who care. Our mentors are effective because they are often natural “kid magnets” in the neighborhood who recognize and support the natural gifts, talents and skills of each young person, and understand how these gifts can help us build a better community. Each mentor is screened and receives six hours of training, which is offered twice a year. Mentors and youth are matched based on shared interests and other individual factors. Each mentor commits to one hour a week with each youth for one year and group activities are planned throughout the year with other mentors, their mentees and their families.
In 2009, NECIC convened residents and countywide health care and social service providers around minority health disparities. As a result, in May 2010, NECIC submitted a local strategic plan to The Ohio Commission On Minority Health with the goal to minimize minority health disparities. The plan addressed the following areas: service, capacity, resources, and infrastructure.
To view the Minority Health Report click here