Goal is to increase home ownership
The goal is to bring new life to an economically distressed area that includes the Franklin County Housing Authority and Southgate Mall, as well as along South Main and South Second streets, Jones said. One initiative is to encourage home ownership.
"Sixty-seven percent of the people in that area rent," said Jones, 63, who retired from Pitney-Bowes five years ago as a senior accounts representative. "A great majority of the community wants the opportunity to purchase their own homes."
"If you can increase the home ownership in a particular sector, you will increase the value of that neighborhood," Jones said. Toward that end, Jones said he will enlist the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to put on workshops for residents who want to go from renting to owning.
"In order to be designated an Elm Street Community, the community needed to come together and say, 'This is what we'd like to see done,'" Jones said.
South Main, South Second targeted for sidewalk upgrades
Other priorities in the plan are facade and sidewalk improvements, and creating a clean, green and safe neighborhood, he said.
The various Elm Street committees have been planning for 2008, which he said will target South Main and South Second streets for facade and sidewalk improvements, but $250,000 only will go so far.
"The first thing that hit me is we need additional moneys ... We could spend $250,000 in the first month," Jones said.
Consultants to the Elm Street project have provided a resource guide to funding sources, and Jones' goal is to raise $1 million per year for revitalization.
Jones, who received the Mike Waters Citizen of the Year Award for community service, has been involved with BOPIC for eight years, and it was that involvement with the summer enrichment program and other community organizations helping hundreds of children that led to his being selected to head up Elm Street.
"One person can't do that. It takes a team of people," Jones said of the volunteers who make the organizations go. "All I do is think outside the box."