by Emily Vontom, Published July 25, 2011
YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University students will lead a new effort to help revitalize the south side of Ypsilanti after receiving a grant from the Washtenaw County United Way. The $3,000 grant was provided to Eastern as a way to help address the economic, educational and health hardships that Ypsilanti's south side has faced.
Eastern students, including one graduate and two undergraduates studying in public administration and social work, will use the grant to conduct a needs assessment survey that will help establish the needs of the future residents of Hamilton Crossing. Formerly the Parkview public housing units, the new complex will have 144 renovated units when it opens in early 2012.
As part of the pilot survey, which begins in August, Eastern will include an assessment of similar facilities with successful social and educational programs, and opportunities.
"The project is aimed at revitalizing the south side of Ypsilanti and the housing there," said Russ Olwell, co-director of EMU's Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities, who will oversee the project. "The hope is to make it a much more livable place."
Hamilton Crossing will offer opportunities for residents that focus on early childhood education, literacy programs, parenting programs and job training.
"This project is a great opportunity for Eastern and its students to play a part in the revitalization of Ypsilanti's neighborhoods," said Olwell.