(Plain Press, March 2019)Metro West Community Development Organization held its annual meeting on February 6that the Family Ministry Center on Fulton Road. The meeting included the distribution of its annual report, presentation of awards, and comments from Board Members, Managing Director Ricardo León, Ward 14 Council Representative Jasmin Santana, Ward 3 City Council Representative Kerry McCormack, Ward 12 City Council Representative Tony Brancatelli, and Ward 15 Council Assistant Blanca Salva.
Metro West Board Members Waleska Berrios and Stephany Muleba urged those that lived in or worked in the neighborhood to consider applying to be on the Metro West Board of Trustees.
Managing Director Ricardo León outlined some of the organization’s accomplishments over the past year including over 7,500 visitors attending the annual La Placita celebration; the demolition of the former YMCA in Brooklyn Centre to make way for 60 units of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals; and the reopening of WC Reed Park on Denison after completion of a $6.9 million environmental clean-up effort. Other accomplishments León mentioned include the nearly completed demolition of the former Swift and Co. building on W. 65thin the Stockyard neighborhood; the removal of 240 tons of trash and debris from green spaces and vacant lots in the neighborhood; and Metro West’s efforts to bring 14 abandoned houses back into productive use. The annual report indicated that Metro West serves nearly 26,000 residents in the Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre and Stockyard neighborhoods. The report lists the organization’s income and expenses at just over $1 million dollars in 2017.
Managing Director León also mentioned some future plans for the neighborhood including Metro West and Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization joining with the Hispanic Business Center to help bring about El Mercado a permanent indoor location for small retail businesses.
The Metro West Award recipients included two In Memoria awards. Bill Hildebrant was honored for providing an affordable space for artists, makers and food creators in his building on Walton. Pam Gaston was honored for her strong voice as an advocate for her neighborhood and as a member of the W. 73rdStreet Block Club and a Ward 14 Precinct Committee Person.
The Second District Police Community Service Unit received the Partner of the Year Award.
Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center, which recently relocated to the Archwood United Church of Christ building in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood, was honored with the Community Champion award.
Jeff Goforth received a Community Champion award for helping with neighborhood clean-ups and helping neighbors in need.
Jonny Fine received a Community Champion award for his work with neighborhood youth in the City Life Center in the former Boys and Girls Club building on Trowbridge.
The owners of Gamerz Galaxy at 5700 Denison Avenue, Gregory and Brian Jones, received the neighborhood business award. The business offers youth and families a safe space for playing video and board games as well as a space for neighborhood events and activities.
Property owners Tina and Jim Camiola received the Beautiful Home award for their efforts in restoring a home on Queen Avenue near W. 25thStreet.
Las Tienditas, a small business incubator at W. 25thand Seymour, received the Community Vibrancy award. Businesses housed in the former Castro family corner store include a coffee shop, a Puerto Rican restaurant, a design and print shop and a small grocery.