CVNA doing important work

Published 7:00 pm Friday, September 1, 2017

On Tuesday night of this past week, Aug. 29, the Calumet Village Neighborhood Association hosted members from the Georgia Conservancy, a statewide conservation organization, in the basement of Saint Peter’s Catholic Church. The Georgia Conservancy was on hand to share an outline of finalized plans developed in an effort to help revitalize Calumet Village. Those plans included both short and long-term solutions for the neighborhood, which were well-received by all in attendance.

This meeting was just another step along the path toward complete neighborhood revitalization first dreamed up by Dr. Richard Tucker and others in 2013, when the CVNA was officially formed. At that time, the plan was to simply revitalize Calumet Park, to make the park a safe and clean place to simply sit peacefully. Soon, however, Tucker and others understood their work should not stop with the renewal of one park, but should extend to the entire neighborhood.

Calumet Village is bordered by Greenville Street to the north, East Depot Street to the south, Render Street to the east and Morgan Street to the west. The neighborhood creates a rectangle along the eastern outskirts of downtown LaGrange, and sees a segment of Lafayette Parkway pass through its borders. The neighborhood has a rich history as a mill town, but had fallen into disrepair and disarray in the decades that have followed the closing of the Callaway Mill that stood where the catholic church now stands.

This disrepair eventually spurred the desire for change into action, with the formation of the CVNA in 2013. The CVNA has been working through a five-phase plan since that time. Those phases have been to upgrade Calumet Park, to improve general safety and street safety, to provide job training to residents of the neighborhood, to increase the focus on education of the neighborhood’s youth from pre-K to two years after high school and to improve housing within the community.

The presentation from the Georgia Conservancy on Tuesday night was one more step along the path toward Calumet Village’s revitalization. While there is still much left to do, the people within the neighborhood are to be applauded for the changes and improvements that have been made in short order. Far too often, those that are fortunate enough to overcome unfortunate or challenging upbringings leave that environment, never to return.

Rarely do people who make a better life for themselves make a decision to return to their roots, to invest, to struggle to make a better life for future generations.

That is what the Calumet Village Neighborhood Association is doing. This organization is comprised of people who could choose to live somewhere else. Instead, they have decided, as a collective unit, to invest in their neighborhood. To work and struggle and fail and succeed in an effort to raise the quality of life for their neighbors.

To Dr. Tucker and the rest of the CVNA, you are a true inspiration for the decisions and work you have put and are putting in to your neighborhood. Thank you for your continued example.