2021 Coalition Plans

Covid-19 has impacted our ability to meet in person, but it has not slowed down your Board of Directors from making progress to further our neighborhood vision. This new website is a step in creating more communication channels in this period of limited face-to-face meetings.

Roll Out Digital Communication Plan

The Smithville Community Coalition cannot have it regular monthly meetings, due to COVID 19, since February 2020. There have been several victims of the coronavirus in Smithville. Union Bethel AMEZ and Torrance Chapel AMEZ churches, and the Neighborhood CARE Center, have been quarantined. We could not share information and receive neighborhood input on several issues. The SCC is creating a digital platform for sharing information. This will be done in two steps. First, we will record the presentations we typically do each month at Union Bethel and place them on either Facebook Live or YouTube. Second, we will hold “Zoom” meetings by street to receive feedback on the information shared. Third, we will circulate a door to door survey confirming the results of the “Zoom” meetings. That information will be shared with the community. We will drop leaflets by each door when the schedule is nailed down.

Resolve Public Right of Way Issues

Smithville has historically suffered from ambiguous lot lines, differentiating where streets begin and end, and where lots start. This confusion has been an ongoing problem affecting things like the ability to install sidewalks, and some- times, houses appear to protrude into the public right-of-way.

Continue Family Tree Investigations

We started mapping out family trees to identify heirs who held ownership rights to land in Smithville. The expected result of this work is creating a pathway toward clearing the title on the intestate properties. This process included inter- viewing household members and identifying relatives, usually former household members, who were raised in the house one or two generations ago. We would then match that information up against census data, birth certificates, and death certificates to confirm household membership.

Assist Neighborhood Homeowners with Flooding

Smithville has three creeks cutting through the approximately 68 acres making up the sub-neighborhood. The SCC will follow up with all the homeowners who have complained about this problem and make sure their property is inspected by the Town.

Clear Titles to Intestate Parcels

We continue to have senior residents who need repairs to their homes. Low- income senior homeowners are eligible for free emergency repairs on their homes, provided they have clear title to the houses. The SCC will continue to work with individual families to assist them in clearing clouds on their titles. We also have several parcels of “heir” land where the titles need clearing. We have identified the most strategic parcels, based on the master plan, and will work on those first.

Land Acquisition

Start the site acquisition program with public funding. Our plan calls for public funding in FY 2022 for acquisition and infrastructure construction. The SCC will

Continue the Estate Planning Program

Since most residents of Smithville do not have wills, we created training sessions planned for March and April of 2020. These sessions were post- poned because of the quarantines for COVID 19. As soon as it is safe to resume the training sessions, we will reschedule the sessions. The meet- ings will still be available for families with scholarships available from the Smithville Community Coalition. The sessions will come with a reduced price from attorneys for producing wills. The County has agreed to fund this program. If the quarantine continues beyond October 2020, we will redesign the program to work on a digital platform.

Complete the Neighborhood Review and Approval of the New Master Plan

The updated neighborhood revitalization plan was available in June 2020. Typically, this plan would have been a major agenda item on our monthly community meetings. Due to the coronavirus, we have not had a communi- ty meeting since February 2020. We have piggybacked on the education process used in most churches, which includes a presentation on Face- book Live, followed by a Q&A session on “Zoom.” We will break the neigh- borhood into street clusters to facilitate the “Zoom” meeting. Once we com- plete the process with the groups, we will do a door-to-door neighborhood survey to confirm the verbal results of the neighborhood meetings. We will notify each street of the schedule two weeks before we start.

Secure the Town’s Approval of the New Land Use Plan

After the SCC completes the neighborhood review of the revitalization plan, we want to have it approved by the Cornelius Board of Commissioners. The Land Use Plan is a prerequisite to the proposed zoning we antici- pate needing for the revitalization.

Staffing

The SCC expects to contract with a consultant who will work with us to implement the goals identified for the upcoming year. The position will be funded from grants that we have either received or expect to receive. The staffing will help provide consistency to our organizing efforts. We plan to sign a one-year contract with a consultant. The consultant will work an average of 20 hours per week.

Legal Assistance

In late June, the law firm Robinson Bradshaw took us on as a pro bono client. Their firm has a real estate development practice area. Besides helping us with land acquisition and mortgage documents, they also have experience in condemnation, land use and zoning, fund formation, and public finance. This is in addition to the legal services provided by McPhail & McPhail, who has performed most of our title work. The McIntosh Law Firm has provided advice and support as SCC considers creating a Smith- ville CDC to execute the master plan for the SCC.


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Lisa Mayhew-Jones


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