MANSFIELD, Ohio – During the July 27 North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. (NECIC) Board of Directors meeting, the board unanimously approved the addition of the North End Civic Engagement Profile to the North End Community Economic Development Plan (CED Plan).
The North End Civic Engagement Profile outlines voter turnout, the barriers to democracy, and proposed solutions in the North End of Mansfield, census tracts 6, 7, and 16.
“As we look at all the ways the CED Plan can be useful in improving the quality of life and economic landscape of the North End, we realize that the residents of the North End have to also look at how they engage with elected officials so that they can get what they need in their neighborhoods, so that their problems are addressed effectively, and that issues and concerns of the residents are brought to the people that can impact them in the way that it needs to be done,” said NECIC Executive Director Deanna West-Torrence.
“For example, if we had had a more engaged citizenry in our target area, we may not have seen the number of schools close,” she continued. “Some of those things could have been avoided if citizens had engaged with the decision-makers in more effective ways.”
“In a low-income neighborhood, if you are not voting, you are experiencing the economic impact without a voice,” added NECIC Community Development Manager Tony Chinni.
In adding the North End Civic Engagement Profile to the CED Plan, NECIC hopes to let people know who is responsible for what, and even how to get involved and run for office themselves.
“It is absolutely critical as a foundational piece to redevelopment in the North End,” said West-Torrence.
Data was researched and compiled by Thea Crowley, NECIC summer intern, under the supervision and tutelage of Chinni.
“Civic engagement is the cornerstone of ‘we the people’ governing ourselves,” said Chinni. “This project is a small step toward empowering residents as citizens, rather than clients and consumers.”
The project was one Crowley said she enjoyed, “I really liked being able to think critically and creatively about democracy and how it connects to Mansfield residents.” She added that she was incredibly honored to have a project she took part in added to the CED Plan.