A Bristol Park Neighborhood Steering Committee was formed in December 20, 2011 from neighborhood stakeholders. Members on the Steering Committee include neighborhood church leaders, neighborhood businesses and non profits, Human Kinetics, Park District, U of I College of Law, Housing Authority, Tenant Union, and neighborhood residents. This group is currently meeting monthly with City staff. The committee helped host, along with Neighborhood Services Staff, seven neighborhood meetings during January and February to discuss the Bristol Park Neighborhood Plan Housing Goal. The first six meetings included: January 11, 2012 meeting for the Shadow Wood residents, January 17, 2012 meeting for nonprofit and for profit businesses as well as a meeting for Garwood Tenants later that evening, January 23, 2012 meeting for the Bristol Place Tenants, January 25, 2012 meeting for Garwood Property Owners, and January 30, 2012 meeting for Bristol Place Property Owners.
The final event was an attempt to reach out to residents and owners in the Bristol Park Neighborhood who were not previously able to attend the other neighborhood meetings. This event occurred on Saturday February 18 at Stratton Elementary School and included games and face painting for the children, music by Hip Hop Express, lunch, and a discussion of the City’s housing redevelopment plan for the Bristol Park Neighborhood. The event concluded with a prize raffle. The event was by far the largest of the seven neighborhood meetings held with 118 neighbors, volunteers and committee members in attendance. Public input was sought at all of the meetings and at the conclusion of the final event; staff sought feedback from the residents through comment cards. The results of the comment cards included two (2) questions – “Do you reside in Bristol or Garwood?” and “Are you supportive of the Bristol Park Neighborhood Proposed Housing Strategies?” Respondents were asked to provide a comment if they answered no to the second question. There were a total of thirty three (33) comment cards received with only seven (7) negative responses.
The next steps in the public discussion will include a joint Neighborhood Services Advisory Board/Bristol Park Neighborhood Plan Steering Committee meeting on March 8, and a City Council Study Session scheduled for April 24, 2012. The purpose of these meetings will be to seek approval of staff’s housing recommendations, analysis of a Bristol Place resident survey, and approval of a draft relocation plan for the Bristol Place Neighborhood that would then be submitted to HUD for approval.