Restoration and revitalization initiatives in urban waters communities like Jacksonville are intended to create more sustainable and resilient neighborhoods. However, leaders must be mindful that these improvements —referred to as green gentrification—can lead to increased property values, and the displacement of current residents. Groundwork’s goal is to minimize possible green gentrification from the Emerald Trail and creek restoration initiatives.
Since 2019, the Urban Waters Learning Network (UWLN) has been digging deeper into the topic of gentrification and displacement. In 2020 the UWLN formed the Equitable Development and Anti-Displacement Collaborative to further this work. The goal is to convene community experts to listen, learn, and expand research to build on equitable development, anti-displacement and community engagement strategies.
Groundwork Jacksonville is proud to be one of five organizations that have joined UWLN in the Collaborative along with Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development; Ironbound Community Corporation; Passaic River Urban Waters Federal Partnership and the State of Colorado Environmental Justice Unit.
Manager of Community Engagement & Equity Gloria McNair represents Groundwork in the UWLN and the Collaborative. In early June, Gloria traveled to Washington D.C. for the UWLN River Rally conference where she shared Groundwork’s equitable development work in the Mixon Town/North Riverside community along McCoys Creek.
Over the last three years, Gloria has worked closely with the residents and their North Riverside Community Development Corporation (CDC) to create an Equity Plan with the goal of minimizing displacement and maintaining the character and culture of the neighborhood.
The 10-year vision plan focuses on four key areas:
- Economic Opportunities/Development
- Environmental Stewardship
- History and Culture
The residents have formed committees to focus on each of the areas and Groundwork is supporting their efforts by bringing additional resources and partners like LISC Jacksonville to the initiative.
According to Gloria, “It was such an honor to share with UWLN the important work our neighbors in North Riverside are doing to promote equity and prevent displacement. Groundwork’s goal is to ensure current residents are able to enjoy the environmental, recreational and economic benefits the restored McCoys Creek will bring.”
UWLN Equitable Development and Anti-Displacement Collaborative has released a new story map: