PACT Newsletter | Q2 2019

Message from the Executive Director

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Summer is fast approaching and we welcome all that comes with the summer months! We are excited about the robust schedule of community events, festivals and celebrations that make this time of year so enjoyable. To ensure that you’re aware of and taking advantage of all that the PACT community has to offer now and year-round, be sure to pay frequent visits to our Website and more specifically our Events page where we highlight both community- and PACT-sponsored events.

In this edition, we bring you news about our work as well as that of our partners. Specifically, please take a moment to read the article supplied by our partners at Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA). I encourage you to take a moment to drive in and around the former Poindexter Village area where you’ll now find Poindexter Place and Legacy Pointe at Poindexter. During that drive, you will likely experience brand new streets, recently opened again to automobile traffic. Take in every phase of construction that is currently underway, from units soon to be finished and occupied to foundations just being poured. It is exciting to realize that the end of this journey is near and that the neighborhood will be home to 450 new units of safe, decent, mixed-income housing. It doesn’t stop there as it relates to the investments led by CMHA in the PACT community. Again, make sure that you take time to read the full article below.

In our last edition, we offered our congratulations to Trudy Bartley, associate vice president for community relations in the Office of Government Affairs at The Ohio State University and former Executive Director of PACT on being named a YWCA 2019 Woman of Achievement. In this edition, we would like to extend our congratulations to 2019 Jefferson Award Winner, Reita Smith.

Known in the community for roles that include Historian, Preservationist and Community Advocate, Reita Smith has spent 60-plus years preserving and telling the story of her ancestors and the community of Poindexter Village and Columbus’ Near East Side. Considered an expert in African American genealogy, Smith has volunteered countless hours researching and celebrating the African American history and culture, including the life of Rev. James Preston Poindexter the namesake of Poindexter Village. Her efforts, along with other members of the James Preston Poindexter Foundation and in partnership with the Ohio History Connection, are now squarely aligned on achieving the dream of a Poindexter Village Museum. The museum, slated to be housed in original Poindexter Village buildings preserved by hard-fought efforts led by Smith and other members of the James Preston Poindexter Foundation, will honor one of the first public housing projects in the country. To learn more about Reita’s story click HERE. To learn more about the James Preston Poindexter Foundation and to support their work, please click HERE. Congratulations to Reita Smith, and many thanks for all that she has done and will do to celebrate the rich African American history of Columbus’ Near East Side.


Community Comes Together to Beautify the Neighborhood 

Under the leadership of the Neighborhood Safety Advisory Council, the 2019 Community Clean-Up was held on May 18. The clean-up resulted in 100-plus volunteers filling 75-plus bags of trash and contributing to other neighborhood beautification efforts, including and not limited to a “face-lift” of the Mt. Vernon Plaza shopping center. The volunteers planted 10 flats of flowers and laid 55 combined bags of mulch and topsoil. We also had 150-plus neighbors and residents join us for the post-event celebration held at the Maroon Arts Group’s Movement Pursuing Art Commerce Community Box Park. Efforts at the Mt. Vernon Plaza shopping center were made possible with the support of property owner American Community Developers. Residents are encouraged to join their neighbors and engage in local/block-level clean-up activities on Saturday, July 13. That same day, 9 am – noon, a team of volunteers will initiate phase 2 of the Mt. Vernon Plaza shopping center clean-up as they plant flowers in and around the “Focal Point.” If your block is in good shape, be sure to join us at the Plaza for a morning of fun-filled flower planting! As a reminder, the Community Clean-Up events are initiative of the Neighborhood Safety Advisory Council. To learn more about the PACT Community Safety Pledge, please visit: www.PACTSafetyPledge.com.

You can also check out the work of our recent Community Clean-Up activities here.


PACT Brings Financial Fitness and Home Buyer Education Classes to Local Residents

In the months of April and May a combined 30-plus people participated in Financial Fitness and Home Buyer Education classes made possible by PACT. Each offering consisted of two classes, resulting in a total of four classes. The sessions were held at The Ohio State University Outpatient East and were delivered by facilitators from our partners at Homeport. The Spring 2019 Financial Fitness and Home Buyer Education classes were made possible in-part through the generous support of PNC Bank.


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PACT Quarterbacks Second Collaborative Effort to Distribute Bicycles to Neighborhood Children 

On June 12, PACT representatives, joined by a host of collaborators and partners, gathered at Legacy Pointe at Poindexter to distribute 32 bicycles to children living in the immediate community. The event, a follow-up to the initial bicycle distribution held in December, served as a wonderful reminder of what can be accomplished thanks to a healthy spirit of collaboration. Funding was made available through individual donors and the Columbus Youth Foundation. A $1500 matching gift from the Columbus Youth Foundation was made possible with and through The Columbus Foundation. Additional thanks to The Columbus Foundation for making available their Better Together crowdfunding platform, which provided an easy outlet for our donors. Bikes were made available through Franklinton Cycle Works and Urban Strategies, Inc. assisted in identifying families and children. Columbus Public Health supplied the helmets, fittings and safety lights.

Nearly 60 people gathered in the parking lot and community room located at Legacy Pointe at Poindexter for the festivities, with food prepared by our friends at Creole Kitchen. Threatening rain clouds failed to dampen everyone’s excitement as the children anxiously gathered to select their bicycles. After making their selections and receiving safety lights and a helmet fitting, the youth took their new bikes for a spin! PACT extends a big THANK YOU to everyone who made this special day possible. Combined with the December event, PACT and its partners and collaborators have distributed over 50 bicycles to children in the immediate community.


A Barber Shop Legacy on the Near East Side

It has served the Near East Side community under its owners Elders Paul Locke and Bob Dillard over 53 years. The two business owners and best friends served their last customers at the Locke & Dillard Barbershop, 1526 Mount Vernon Avenue for the last time on Friday, June 28.

The barbershop was filled with longtime customers who had great memories and had great stories to tell about the barbershop and its two owners.

David Black has been coming to the shop for more than 20 years. He says Locke and he ride each other over Ohio State vs. Michigan football.

“I lived a few blocks from here growing up and if you wanted a good cut, you came here,” said Black. “My family came here, and it is like a family reunion every time you come down here. I hate to see them go,” he continued with emotion.

Locke says part of the reason for the barbershop’s success is that they have been consistent since taking over the business from David Lynch in 1962.

“We’ve been steady, and we have been true to our customers,” stated Locke. “We do things by the book and have been doing so for 58 years.”

Locke, now 82, is in good health and is looking forward to retiring.

“I want to travel things with me and my wife before I can’t.”

Locke was one of East High School’s all-time centers back in his day and is still an avid football fan. He jokes about his and Black’s football rivalry.

“He is one of the few good Michigan fans,” he said of Black with a chuckle.

Another regular is proud to have been part of the barbershop family over the years.

Larry Odom said, “These are my mentors, and have been for over 40 years. It has been a pleasure; these men listen to my good and bad, they help put things in perspective and get me back on track,” he said.

The shop has served celebrities such as Hal Williams and Bernie Casey, and everyone from local leaders, pastors, politicians, doctors, teachers, and superintendents. Former superintendent Larry Mixon started getting his hair cut by Locke when he was 12 years old.

“Paul has been my barber for 58 years,” he said teary-eyed. “I started getting my hair cut when he was in Shepherd and followed him here. Mount Vernon was the life blood of the African American community and it is hurtful in some respect that the things that made Mount Vernon Avenue so great are slowly dwindling away with time. Paul and Bob deserve [to retire,] they have been great to this community.”

Dillard says he has seen the community change over the decades, from housing, to the streets to the kids.

“I have served several four generations of families,” Dillard said. “I have been here since May 1966, coming to work every morning at 7 a.m. It’s been a great community and the customers and all; I have really enjoyed it.”

The 80-year-old plans to ride his motorcycle, doing a little fishing and hunting and just relaxing as he enjoys retirement. He has a few words of advice to young entrepreneurs.

“Be faithful to the job and to the community,” he advised. “Get to work on time, be dedicated and faithful to your craft…be open be, on time, be honest and be fair,” he continued.

Mike Cavin has been working with Dillard and Locke since 2000, as a barber and business partner and says he has learned so much from having the privilege of spending his days with Dillard and Locke.

“They taught me to manage your money, be conservative, help those around you that you can help, always have a plan and vision of where you want to be and what you want to do in life,” he shared.

Cavin will continue helping the community and be a mentor to other barbers as he transitions to the next part of his career.

Another faithful customer, Carl Smith, started coming to the barbershop after he graduated from college, some 50-plus years ago.

“The camaraderie here you don’t find anywhere else,” said Smith. “I run a food pantry and the people at the food pantry wait for me to tell them some of the fun stories that come out of this barbershop. The people I have meet here will be in my life as long as I live, and Paul and Bob are like brothers to me. This is a unique place and you won’t find a place like this anywhere else in the world.”


Near East Side Neighborhood Leadership Academy Application Now Available! 

The application for the 2019 Near East Side Neighborhood Leadership Academy is live! Applications are due by July 31 and new for this year, classes will run from September through April. The Near East Side Neighborhood Leadership Academy is an initiative made possible by the United Way of Central Ohio that provides a curriculum to develop neighborhood leadership. The 40-hour curriculum prepares neighborhood champions to step into leadership roles in community improvement initiatives and provides guidance in working with and through local governance to create grassroots solutions to community challenges. To apply on-line, please visit: https://fs21.formsite.com/unitedway/zdy32o63ib/index.html. To request a paper application, please contact David Foust at dfoust@eastpact.org.


Crawley’s Frame Shop Closes Leaving an Indelible Legacy; New Restaurant to Take Its Place

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After nearly 30 years, Crawley’s Custom Framing on Mt. Vernon Avenue is closing its doors, but the building will continue to enshrine special memories for the community [read more]. We thank Rev. Nelson Crawley for his long-standing commitment to the Mt. Vernon business community and for the numerous contributions he has made and for the legacy he leaves. As Rev. Crawley liquidates items from his shop, including framed pieces of art, equipment, materials and other supplies, we discovered a special collection that had been curated over the years. During their inaugural season, the Columbus Blue Jackets ran a full page color profile of their players. The profiles appeared weekly in the Sunday sports section of the Columbus Dispatch. Each week, Rev. Crawley would collect the profile and meticulously frame the piece with a matching red and blue mat board combination. The collection is thought to be the only one of its kind. In recognizing the value and potential interest on behalf of the Blue Jackets fan base, PACT reached-out to The Columbus Foundation with the hope of connecting with someone inside the Blue Jackets organization. Shortly thereafter, Rev. Crawley connected with Katie Matney, Interim Executive Director, Columbus Blue Jackets (CBJ) Foundation. The entire 24-piece collection was purchased by the Blue Jackets Foundation and will be sold as part of an upcoming CBJ auction, celebrating the teams’ 20th anniversary happening in the next 18 months.

In an effort to carry forth Rev. Crawley’s legacy, neighborhood resident Brad Ransier has a vision for a new restaurant at the location, where he is planning to serve up South African cuisine. Complete with an enclosed patio and vibrant décor, the restaurant is sure to become a community staple. Make sure to give it a try when it opens!

Sawubona! (Zulu greeting)

It is my pleasure to announce the opening of a new restaurant concept to the PACT community, Kasi Township Grill. Kasi Township Grill is a South African inspired restaurant specializing in Peri-Peri chicken, lamb chops, steaks, fish and seafood, all cooked over an open flame.

The inspiration for Kasi Township Grill came to me on a recent trip to my wife's homeland, South Africa. While traveling through Soweto, my wife, Nonkululeko, introduced me to a local restaurant concept found throughout the townships called Shisanyama, which literally translates to “to burn/grill meat.” Shisanyama is a term used in many South African townships to describe a braai (barbecue) where friends or families can come together and share, grilled meats cooked over an open fire, cold refreshments, and good music. This spirit of sharing is a philosophy in South Africa known as, ubuntu. “I am because we are.”

Our mission is to create a neighborhood restaurant that offers a unique South African dining experience unlike anywhere in Columbus. We want to create an establishment that our community will be proud to claim as its own.

Will keep you posted!

Chef Brad


After SixYears, the Choice Neighborhood Grant Continues to Impact the Near East Side

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The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and our partners are gearing up for year six of our Choice Neighborhood Initiative at the site of the former Poindexter Village, and we’re keeping busy in other parts of the Near East Side, too.

When complete, CMHA will have added 450 new, mixed-income units to the historic Near East Side community with the help of the $30-million Choice Neighborhood grant from HUD. CMHA currently has 278 units online, including 104 units of senior housing at Poindexter Place and 174 units of family housing at Legacy Pointe at Poindexter.

Construction on the third and final phase of Legacy Pointe is currently underway. The first 20 units of the final phase will be completed and available for lease up by summer’s end.

Just down the road from Legacy Pointe, CMHA is nearing completion of our rehab of the former Columbus Early Learning Center at 162 N. Ohio Avenue. Originally built in 1917, this site was one of the first daycare center for African-Americans in Franklin County. Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority is converting it into ten market-rate apartments that will feature the original exterior and exposed brick interiors with timber and steel accents. This historic renovation will contain the same charm from yesteryear with high quality, efficient, and modern-day amenities. Target completion for this project is late fall of this year.

Nearby, site work for Columbus Scholar House 3 is underway and construction is expected to begin later this summer. Phase three will sit across the street from phases one and two which serve single parents working toward a secondary education degree. Phase three will include 30 apartments for youth aging out of foster care, aged 18-24, who are enrolled in secondary education. Wraparound services will be included to give the population of this facility round the clock care and support them on their educational journey. Columbus Scholar House is a nationally recognized model for supporting education among the families CMHA serves.

At Sawyer Manor and Trevitt Heights, CMHA is rebuilding the eight units that were destroyed in a gas explosion following an illegal break in last year. Once these units are completed, the Sawyer/Trevitt rehab will be complete. CMHA put nearly $35,000 per unit of improvements into each unit at Sawyer & Trevitt

While the housing authority has a significant amount of development work going on around the neighborhood, CMHA acknowledges and is committed to the most important part of the community – the people who live here.

Through partnerships with OSU, Columbus Parks & Recreation, Beatty Rec Center, and the Lindy Infante Foundation, CMHA is helping youth attend OSU LiFEsports camp over the summer. Life sports camp is a sport-based positive youth development summer camp targeting youth ages 9-15. This will be the first time Life Sports is located away from the OSU campus.

Urban Strategies will also be running a youth development program titled Legacy Leadership, serving youth ages 12-18. Topics will include mental health, drug awareness, self-confidence, social media, and positive relationships. Attendees will also engage and interact with local community members and have regular field trips to see a variety of organizations, assets, and history in the Columbus geography.

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority would like to end by thanking all our partners who make the housing authority’s work on the Near East Side possible, including the City of Columbus, McCormack Baron Salazar, PACT, OHFA, OCCH, Urban Strategies, and so many more. Without this support, the work CMHA does would not be possible.


Give your opinion on selecting the next Columbus Chief of Police. 

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As you may know, the City of Columbus has formally begun its search for the next Chief of Police. Mayor Andrew J. Ginther added a community engagement process to the selection efforts, making sure residents of the City of Columbus have a voice in determining what they want to see in the next Columbus Chief of Police. Many of you attended the community meetings held in May and June to give your opinion about what you want to see in the next chief of police. There is still an opportunity to share your thoughts about what you want to see in the next Columbus chief of police. Take the brief survey here and share your thoughts, today.


Upcoming Events & Opportunities in the Community 

2019 Diversity & Health Equity Summit Achieving Better Health Together

When: July 13, 2019, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Where: Columbus Public Health - 240 Parsons Ave.

To Register and Learn More, please visit: http://bit.ly/DHESummit19


Columbus Women & Girls' Fest

Celebrating Sisterhood & Community!

When: August 3, 2019, 11am-7:30pm

Where: MPACC Box Park 925 Mt. Vernon Ave (All DAY ENTERTAINMENT!!)

FREE TO THE PUBLIC

WORKSHOPS 11am-3:30PM

  • ALL PRE-REGISTERED WORKSHOP ATTENDEES RECEIVE COMPLIMENTARY LUNCH AND GIFT BAG. Pre-Register by July 20th.

  • Workshops inside the African American & African Studies Community Extension CTR- 905 Mt. Vernon Ave. (Next to the Box Park)

VENDOR SPACE IS AVAILABLE NOW!

For more Information about the festival and to register for workshops and vendor opportunities visit the website at https://sites.google.com/view/cbuswgfest/home


PACT Open House Cook Out

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Great opportunity for Small Business Owners 

As part of their commitment to supporting small, minority and women-owned businesses succeed and grow, The City of Columbus has partnered with YMT Consultants, Inc. to provide Accelerate ColumbUS©: Scale-Up & Grow. This pilot program is focused on supporting existing business owners who live and work within the city of Columbus. Application closes: August 5. Classes begin: September 6. To register, please visit: http://www.ymtconsultants.com/accelerate-columbus/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.


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The City of Columbus African American Cultural Festival: Unity in the Community 

The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, with support from the Department of Neighborhoods, present the third annual African American Cultural Festival Friday, August 23 and Saturday, August 24, 2019. Hosted in the heart of the Historic Bronzeville District, a variety of live music, spoken word and dance performances highlight the third annual African-American Cultural Festival. Visual artists, a kids’ fun zone and more will help round out the day. Admission is FREE.

The African-American Cultural Festival is produced by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and Department of Neighborhood services and made possible through the generous support of our partners, American Electric Power Foundation. For more information, please visit: https://www.columbus.gov/aacf/


Neighbors of the Near East Side - Sherome and Eryn