For this meeting, we first met our newest Task Force member, who represents the greater District 1 area, then we heard from Paul Sawyer, D1 President, about the changing demographics of the area.
In 1970, the neighborhood around BTT was 99.3% white. In 1980, this percentage was 95.7%, and by 1990 the neighborhood was still 90.9% white. In 2010, however, the area was 46.7% white, 32.9% black (African American and African immigrant), 10.3% Asian, and 6.3% Latino. In 2010, 72.6% of the children in the area were people of color. This number tells us what the future of the neighborhood will be. The median age of the area is 30.6 years old, which is younger than the city median age.
56.7% of households are owner-occupied, and 43.3% of households are renter-occupied. There is a difference of 11 years in the median ages of the heads of households of these two groups, with the owner-occupied head of household being the older. But even more striking than this difference is that 83% of owned households have a white head of household, while only 27% of rented households have a white head of household. And the median household income for homeowners is $78,182 while the median income of renters is $33,843 (the City’s median income is $50,885). About 77% of homeowners moved into a home in the area since 1990 (when the Highwood Plan was adopted) whereas 99% of renters moved into a unit in the area since 2000.
These demographic changes and the differences between the homeowners and the renters of the area are the fundamental reason it is important for us to “check back in” with the community about a vision for the area.
For a large part of the rest of the evening the Task Force went through a visioning exercise of its own. They were asked 3 questions:
- When you think about your neighborhood, what comes to mind other than Boys Totem Town?
- What do you think we need in order to make this neighborhood a better and more livable place?
- Knowing about the demographic changes of this neighborhood (and without trying to think for someone else) do you think neighbors not present would have different ideas to make their lives better??
The last portion of the meeting focused on planning for the January 9 Community Visioning Workshop, at Highwood Hills Elementary School.
This task force is not the group that will determine the City's position of land use for the BTT site. This task force will help formulate the position that the District 1 Council will present to the City as D1 fulfills its ADVISORY role to the City on land use issues in our area. We hope that leaders from this group, and from the broader community will participate in the official City process when the City's BTT Task Force is created, probably spring 2017. A history of planning for the BTT area is attached here, as well as the demographics presentation.
Keep coming back here for more information about what is happening and who is involved AND how you can be involved. You can always contact the D1 office with questions about this project - either firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. You can also call 651-578-7600.