Outstanding Public Outreach, Program, Project, Tool, or Initiative
Winner: Lykins Neighborhood Strategic Development Process
The Lykins Neighborhood has advanced development progress tremendously over the past few years because of the leadership and planning of the Lykins Neighborhood Association and its partners. By identifying a focus area through the planning process, partnering with legal support and other community advocates to acquire properties, and creating a Housing and Development Committee to guide developers interested in the neighborhood, Lykins has implemented an exemplary model of how to put planning into action.
The Lykins Neighborhood is in the Historic Northeast area of Kansas City. Lykins has had the benefit of strong neighborhood leadership over the last ten years, and in 2017 they rallied to protect their neighborhood by declining the proposal of a local developer to buy all the vacant land owned by Land Bank in their neighborhood. Then they began to seek the support of local professionals to help them formulate a strategic plan for their future. Neighborhood Legal Support and Hoxie Collective began collaborating with the Lykins Neighborhood at that time. The collaboration started with the creation of a strategic development plan.
The goal of the strategic development planning process was to use the objective data from the study to identify a nine-block focus area for community development and to give small-scale, rehabbers and builders access to as many resources as possible to support their work. The plan also provided suggestions for investment opportunities and encouraged the next steps of expanded community engagement.
After the Lykins Strategic Development planning process, residents and stakeholders formed Lykins’ first standing committee, the Housing and Development Committee (HDC). With guidance from Neighborhood Legal Support, this committee worked with the input of local developers to select the focus area for development. The Committee emphasized proximity to community assets and number of acquirable properties. The next step was the creation of two sets of performance guidelines, one for renovation and the other for new construction. These guidelines provide best practices for quality of materials, building systems, efficiency, sustainability, and design to compliment the character of this historic neighborhood. Developers and contractors who participate in the Lykins Focus Community Development Project are now required to comply with these guidelines or seek variances.
Meanwhile, the Lykins Neighborhood and Neighborhood Legal Support developed a process and attracted funding to acquire property and administer an RFP process for renovation and development of property within the Focus Area. The Lykins HDC continues to meet monthly to review progress and vote on proposals for development from interested parties. The neighborhood has also hired community liaisons to expand neighborhood engagement, hired interpreters in for the neighborhood meetings to be translated in several languages.
Meanwhile, the Lykins Neighborhood and Neighborhood Legal Support developed a process and attracted funding to acquire property and administer an RFP process for renovation and development of property within the Focus Area. The Lykins HDC continues to meet monthly to review progress and vote on proposals for development from interested parties. The neighborhood has also hired community liaisons to expand neighborhood engagement, hired interpreters in for the neighborhood meetings to be translated in several languages
As Lykins’ capacity has grown so has their interest in defining measurements to help track success on community goals. Neighborhood metrics were prioritized by the neighborhood association through a series of votes at one of their monthly meetings. Residents established three priorities to track:
•Cleanliness of the community
•Safety of the neighborhood
Lykins Neighborhood residents are empowering themselves to define their community development through collaborations with capable and dedicated community partners. They are implementing their plan and defining the tools and processes that strengthen their position, increase resident participation, and amplify their voice. Lykins is creating a replicable model for other Kansas City neighborhoods, and they are excited to share what they have learned along the way. The work that Lykins is doing is worthy of an Outstanding Community Initiative award.