I live in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of OKC. It’s a great location–close to the Paseo and Midtown, an easy bike ride from Downtown and Bricktown–and full of historic bungalows, character-ridden apartment buildings like my own, and a couple of strategically located (if not fully realized) parks. But as I discovered the other night at the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association’s annual Christmas party, this part of town hasn’t always been a charming and convenient place to live, and it’s taken the hard work of a few dedicated residents to really turn it around.
The JPNA is also a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO), which means it is a non-profit that is elegible for certain types of federal money to develop and maintain affordable housing in the local community. JPNA uses these funds and other grant money to rehab or replace decrepit housing, and perform other beautification projects that add to the overall aesthetic improvement and safety of the neighborhood. I feel fortunate to have landed in a neighborhood with such active grassroots engagement and a deep sense of ownership. To be fair, it seems that pockets of like sentiment can be found all over this city.