LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Nestled in a small office on the boundary of the north Lufkin community are workers and volunteers looking at how to improve a neighborhood that has earned a negative reputation.
The Impact Lufkin group was started by the T.L.L. Temple Foundation and is made up of several other community leaders. It has the backing of the city of Lufkin. The goal is to help develop the area that has been neglected by many and help bring services in that many residents have trouble accessing.
"It's like a magnifying glass in our community," City Councilman Robert Shankle said. "There's crime, prostitution, and things like that, but that's everywhere in different parts of the city."
Shankle is a life-long resident of the north Lufkin community that he now represents. Shankle said the neighborhood had some rough year but has now rebounded and believes the vision of Impact Lufkin will only help.
"We are about 80-percent better now, Shankle said. "We have kids running around the parks and playing ball. We have people running the neighborhood. We have businesses coming in."
The group is now in the first of a a three-part plan to bring businesses and pride back to the community rich in history.
"It was [Buddy's] desire to come to north Lufkin and really make a change to the lives of people," Temple Foundation Deputy Executive Director Laura Squiers said. "We are building on the assets of the community. Building on what is going right in the community."
Shankle said so far, the community has been receptive and feels this is what is best for his neighbors.
"So many times the community has been told, 'We are going to do this for the community,' so they are learning to trust and believe this is going to happen," Shankle said. "This is a dream come true. We have the people willing to do the work but we didn't have the resources to make it happen."
The group is being assisted by interns with the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Social Work. The interns are listening to citizens and are trying to make their vision a reality.
"We are attending events, we are attending church," Lenola Wyatt said. "We are also going out to different organizations to see what they are wanting to do."
After the group finishes the inquiry stage, they will enter the preparation for impact and then impact. Wyatt said the group will have the health district and ADAC in house offering services to residents who may not be able to get to their main offices. The group will have a community outreach event on April 11 at Brandon Park. The community talk will start at 6:30 p.m.
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