After decades of disinvestment, a revitalization effort in Edison-Eastlake brings community initiatives and new housing units to the neighborhood located about one mile from downtown Phoenix.
In 2018, the City of Phoenix received $30 million for the Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant for its One Vision Plan in the Edison-Eastlake neighborhood, the first community in Arizona to do so.
The plan includes new housing units in place of obsolete ones, promotes safety and builds community. Public safety and leadership initiatives aim to transform the area while housing upgrades are needed as the neighborhood records some of the hottest temperatures in Phoenix every summer.
A resident of the area, Beverly Cattage, has lived in Edison-Eastlake for 5 years. She’s a member of the Resident Leadership Council, a part of the One Vision Plan. The council encourages residents to speak up about issues in their neighborhood and propose solutions.
“(The Resident Leadership Council) has helped us to speak up in leadership roles, for the community and for ourselves,” she said.
The council was included in the city’s plan when it applied for the grant, Eva Olivas, executive director of Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, said. The city contracted the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation to provide the service. Council members receive a stipend of $500.
The council is a way for residents living in the community to tell the city their needs, as well as bring the community together through the planning of events. It emphasizes the importance of leadership skills and the responsibility residents have to each other and the world.
“We tell (those in the program) that your involvement in this world starts from the moment you wake up,” Olivas said.
Courtney Anderson, project manager for the City of Phoenix, said that while she worked as a community outreach coordinator for the grant, she was amazed at the opportunities the residents had to get involved in the plan.
“The Choice Neighborhoods Grant really focuses on resident engagement and making sure that they’re every bit a part of the project and everything that we’re doing,” Anderson said.
Another aspect of the grant is the planned 1,000 mixed-income housing units, replacing 577 obsolete housing units in Edison-Eastlake. The updated housing is needed, she said.
“Many of the apartments were built in the 40s and 60s and run on swamp coolers,” Anderson said. “Even the electricity to some houses couldn’t support energy efficient appliances.”
The first mixed-income housing unit funded by the grant, Soluna Apartments, was leased out in April. The complex includes 177 one- to five-bedroom apartments.
So far, most residents like the amenities, space and location Anderson said. The only recurring complaint voiced is about public safety. In order to address this issue, public safety measures such as improved lighting, block watches and programs targeting at-risk-youth are included in the One Vision Plan. Cattage expressed the same concern about public safety.
“Hopefully with the new changes they’re making, they’re going to look into safety precautions like having more people walking the neighborhood,” she said. “I know that they have a neighborhood block watch, so that’s been helping a lot.”
The One Vision Plan aims to build not only housing, but a resilient, safe community for the residents in it.
“The residents are a part of each and every project,” Anderson said. “That’s what great about Choice Neighborhoods.”