Community asks for beautification improvements
Posted January 26, 2012 at 11:14 pm in News
Local stakeholders urged expansion of the USC Master Plan to include beautification plans for the area west of Vermont Avenue at a meeting for the North Area Neighborhood Development Council on Thursday.
About 15 residents and activists gathered in a multipurpose room at the University Village to hear presentations from the councilâs leadership about local issues, ranging from public safety to re-districting.
NANDC President Shawn Simons said she was told at USCâs open houses that the universityâs plan for beautifying the community would not extend past Vermont Avenue.
âWhen they say we need the community to shop here, they are talking about all of you west of Vermont,â Simons said. âBut when they say they are going to do a community beautification, they are not talking about west of Vermont.â
Simons, who sits on a Master Plan advisory board and communicates regularly with USC officials, said the university has been fairly receptive.
âThey seem fairly open to this right now,â Simons said. âWe are not asking for a lot.â
Simons said that though the Master Plan will likely reap many benefits for the community west of Vermont Avenue, she believes the university should expand its beautification since the schoolâs influence spans past Vermont.
USC currently operates several programs past Vermont Avenue, including a faculty and staff housing program and yellow jacket security patrols, Simons said.
Charlene Limenih, a resident two blocks west of Vermont Avenue, said she feels the universityâs presence because many students live in the area.
âI am definitely for USC looking beyond Vermont,â Limenih said. âThey should look at least to Normandie [Avenue] because we have students in that area.â
Limenih, who has found whiskey bottles and condoms in her yard after parties, said the school could improve on how they educate off-campus residents about respect and responsibility.
âWe care about USC,â Limenih said. âIt is nice for us … but I want them to look at me as somebody too. We count.â
Simons said the Master Plan means USC might improve nearby parks, but the system for allocating funds for this project needs to be improved.
âSomething we are pushing for is creating a structure for how the community accesses this money and decides to use this money,â Simons said.
At the moment, Simons said, USC is communicating with city council member Bernard C. Parksâ office about the needs of the community.
âUSC is being told by the council district what we want,â Simons said. âIt really should be our voice.â
Simons encouraged the audience to stay up to date about the process as it progresses in the coming months.
âI donât know that we necessarily have to be freaked out … but we need to be knowledgeable about whatâs happening,â Simons said.