Re-opening of the Ravine Park pool is a priority for 90 percent of East Toledo’s Garfield neighborhood residents.
Another 83 percent said there is a need for additional youth activities and 57 percent said that existing parks are inadequate. In addition, 44 percent said they would be willing to step up and volunteer for youth programs.
The results are from a Success Measures Resident Satisfaction Survey conducted from July through September, funded by an LISC grant.
While 87 percent of respondents feel at least somewhat safe walking in the neighborhood during the day, 66.6 percent said walking at night is the most dangerous. Respondents believe being on the streets at night is “not safe” or “not very safe at all.”
In addition, many respondents, especially on the south side of Ravine Park, were unaware that there are local block watch organizations. Over 40 percent expressed a willingness to join and another 26.9 percent would consider, but wanted more information.
Welcoming guests to a public meeting at Garfield Elementary Tuesday night was Bob Krompak, economic development specialist with NeighborWorks Toledo, Jodi Gross of the East Toledo Family Center, and Andrea Martin of the Garfield Neighborhood Organization.
“All together, we interviewed members of 118 households in Garfield,” said Bob Krompak, economic development specialist with NeighborWorks Toledo.
“We spent an average of 30 minutes with each resident surveyed. We prefer surveys to meetings because the process allows us to speak to people who might not normally come to a meeting. Examples of such individuals are young single adult males, older adults who may be afraid to leave their homes at night or single moms who may not have anyone to watch their children,” Krompak continued.
“We like to do it on the front porch with these folks. We think it is a nice intimate setting because people don’t always make it to meetings and we don’t always have a nice turn out. Nobody knows the neighborhood like you, the folks who live there.”
“It also gives us the opportunity to speak to people who may be those considered the ‘marginalized’ people in the neighborhood such as people who are essentially homeless but nonetheless call the neighborhood home because they are staying on someone’s couch or even in a vacant building.”
What troubled Krompak is that most people who hear gun shots or witness instances of vandalism or theft did not report the incident to police, saying they believe it will not matter.
Krompak explained that Chief Derrick Diggs has implemented a “predictive policing” strategy relying on data based on where calls come from.
“When I hear someone say that a car has been damaged or they hear gunshots and did not call the police, it’s important that they do because they will put patrols in the neighborhoods that patrol it,” Kompak said.
Krompak believes other key points gathered from the Garfield survey were:
• The housing stock is in pretty good condition except for several blocks bordered by Front, Steel, Mott and Essex and also the first block of Oswald off Front, Krompak said, explaining that “the ‘100’ numbered blocks in this area contain the majority of the vacant and abandoned homes, a number of which have been placed on the Lucas County Land Bank demolition list for next year.
• Residents in the neighborhood are very communitarian, with approximately 40 percent expressing that they speak to four or more neighbors for at least five minutes each week.
• Residents expressed high regard for both Toledo’s police and fire departments, but are highly unsatisfied with street, alley and street lighting conditions.
• The vast majority are extremely disappointed with the pace of development in the Marina District. Most would prefer moderately priced retail and recreational amenities in the area that serve the needs of neighborhood residents or commercial and light industrial businesses that would provide needed jobs.
• Residents would like to see the portion of the Marina District located between the new Riverside Drive and the Maumee River dedicated as park or open space.
He said the responses of the 118 Garfield residents were nearly identical to the responses of the over 200 Birmingham neighborhood residents interviewed during another survey.
Of those surveyed, 55 percent were homeowners and 45 percent renters, but census bureau demographics demonstrate that of Garfield residents, 45 percent are homeowners and 55 percent rent. Krompak believes they reached more homeowners because many “are retired and they would be more likely to be home during the day. Although, there are more renters than homeowners, there is a good base for homeowners and this is not such a transient neighborhood.”
Seventy percent of those surveyed were white, 10 percent Hispanic, nine percent were black, eight percent were two or more races, two percent American Indian, and Krompak said about one percent listed “other” for race, which may mean Asian or Pacific Islander.
Krompak said the next step will be to create working groups within the community to address issues, and then come back in a few years “to see if we moved the needle.”
Another public meeting will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Nov. 1 at the NeighborWorks Toledo regional office meeting room on 702 Second Street. Gross can be reached at 419-691-1429, ext. 213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.