WUMCRC Executive Director and Park Central Development Corporation Board President, Brian Phillips sat down with us and answered some questions regarding the newly consolidated CDC. Here’s what he had to say…
- What are the reasons behind the consolidation?
The consolidation provided the CDC an opportunity to look holistically at planning, security, infrastructure and development opportunities and challenges ward wide.
- What are the benefits of combining community development services for the 17th Ward neighborhoods under one organization?
The primary benefit will be gaining economies of scale. By having one organization, we eliminate the need to duplicate administrative functions, while at the same time we can expand our staff of community development professionals to better serve and attend to the needs of the constituents ward-wide. One of the positive effects of this will be our ability to bring in individuals with more specialized skills (development, security, infrastructure, etc.). Under the old system, our staff had to be a “Jack of all trades and master of none.” Our new model will allow us to better serve the individual committees (development, infrastructure, security, human services, etc.) by paring them with staff members that have a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges of those particular areas.
- How will the voices of the different neighborhoods be ensured?
There are a number of ways that stakeholders can get involved and make sure that their voices are heard. First, the board of directors is made up of both resident and institutional stakeholder from across the ward. Our board members will take a proactive approach to going out to the individual areas that they represent and bringing back their ideas and encouraging them to get involved at the committee level.
The committee level is where the majority of work gets done. Under the new structure, we will continue our very strong committee system where we have development, infrastructure and marketing committees in each of the geographic areas. Each committee is charged with developing and implementing strategies to improve the quality of life in their areas. Thus far, this system has proved successful in building consensus around a form based plan in the CWE, a drive corridor improvement plan in FPSE and well thought out marketing strategies in both neighborhoods. As we develop committees in the Botanical Heights/Tiffany and West Oakland areas, we hope to build on our success of consensus building and thoughtful implementation of stakeholder driven strategies and programs.
- What will the structure of the new organization look like? (staff, org chart, committees, etc.)
- What is the timeline for the selection of the executive director and staff?
The first step is selecting an Executive Director. We have posted the position both locally and nationally. Hopefully, we will be able to name the permanent Executive Director within the next 45 days. Once the Executive Director is named, he or she will develop a staffing plan and begin hiring staff.