Priority 1: Housing and Infrastructure
North Danville’s assets, ranging from familial ties to faith communities, are just some of the reasons why many families want to remain in their neighborhood. To attract and retain residents, housing and other neighborhood infrastructure need to be attractive and maintained, inside and out. North Danville has a higher percentage (78.9%) of housing valued under $80,000 compared to the city as a whole (39.1%) and the other two Opportunity Neighborhoods. Residents identified numerous strategies to increase quality housing in North Danville, such as training residents to do home improvement projects, helping them navigate existing resources, focusing on the physical quality of housing, and investing in projects that increase the neighborhood’s “curb appeal.” North Danville is also uniquely designated as a National Historic Registry site, and some home owners may benefit from government resources to maintain the neighborhood’s charm.
Priority 2: Education Quality
Education doesn’t just happen in a classroom, and it can be lifelong. There is strong evidence that links educational attainment with future earning potential. North Danville families want to increase their exposure to job and career opportunities for youth and adults. They also recognize that if schools and families can work together with better communication opportunities, it can help shape and accomplish each child’s goals. Everyone in North Danville can play a part, and the strategies reflect that, with engagement opportunities for schools and families, as well as for people who may not see themselves as educators.
Priority 3: Safety
Safety is not just the absence of crime, but the opportunity for all North Danville residents to move throughout their neighborhood without a real or perceived sense that they may be harmed. Social connectedness and civic engagement in the neighborhood, which are strengthened through faith communities and familial ties, are significant assets that help people feel safe. Environmental characteristics, such as proper lighting, lower traffic speeds, and other infrastructure improvements increase the likelihood that people can safely experience North Danville together. Safety also includes more community groups focused on residents’ connections to each other.
Priority 4: Youth Services
Outside the traditional school day, residents would like to see more opportunities to keep young people engaged in positive activities and opportunities to identify and cultivate their interests. North Danville residents shared strategies to enable youth to contribute to and learn more about where they live. Residents noted that it will require expertise and assets from both within and outside the neighborhood.
Priority 5: Living Wage Jobs
Having a high quality of life also means not just being free from the stress of financial instability, but feeling in control of one’s financial situation. North Danville residents want to ensure that everyone in their neighborhood can cover regular expenses and withstand unexpected ones, such as medical costs, housing issues, or other basic needs. Being able to support a family and save for the future also gives residents the autonomy and flexibility to make life changes that improve their well-being. Improving North Danville families’ financial situations requires accessible opportunities for higher-wage work, a more highly skilled work force, and financial education supports.