Group seeking to revitalize Watertown plans community meeting
The Watertown Economic Development Coalition Steering Committee is hosting a Community Town Meeting at 6 p.m. May 17 at United Auto Workers Union Hall, 630 Martin Luther King Drive, East Moline.
It's the first community meeting for the group, organized to try to revitalize one of the city's oldest neighborhoods.
According to the committee, the meeting is designed to:
-- Discuss building a Community Center in the Watertown district.
-- Get residents to join and support Steering Committee efforts.
-- Find people willing to serve on a board to help direct the effort.
-- Encourage people to claim the community, support it and plan and assist with development.
A Watertown Community Empowerment Coalition has been formed to address the need for activities, educational enhancement, economic growth, social opportunity, arts and recreational activities and spiritual nourishment, and access to social services for neighborhood residents, according to a news release from the group.
There are about 4,100 people in the Watertown neighborhood -- 58 percent are people of color and 40 percent are low- to moderate-income, according to the release.
The area has a declining number of owner-occupied housing, which indicates an increased number of rental housing. Only about 12 new homes have been built in the past seven years and half of those were Habitat for Humanity construction, the release said.