The Strong Neighborhoods Initiative (SNI) is a partnership between the City of San José, the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and San José’s residents and business owners to strengthen the city’s neighborhoods by building clean, safe and strong neighborhoods with independent, capable, and sustainable neighborhood organizations. By coordinating and combining resources from the city, RDA, property and business owners, individual community members, and public-private partnerships, the Initiative will help these neighborhoods reach their full potential as highly livable communities. The 20 (19 active) Strong Neighborhoods Initiative areas encompass about 10,000 acres and are located in many sections of San José. While facing some common urban challenges, all of these communities possess important assets and attributes. The underlying principle of the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative is to build upon neighborhood assets, and special SNI resources, in a deliberate strategy to develop the capacity of communities to become their own agents for improvement over the long term. Process The Strong Neighborhoods Initiative is a two-stage process: planning and implementation. The planning stage included the development or update of neighborhood improvement plans. Each neighborhood improvement plan was developed through the collaborative efforts of several groups and scores of individuals, and contains a top ten priority action plan for improvements. The implementation stage focuses on implementing the proposals and recommendations identified through the planning process. The process for creating each plan took approximately eight months to one year to complete, and involved public monthly Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC) meetings and several community workshops. The planning process was successful in engaging the attention and dedication of the Neighborhood Advisory Committees and at-large community members within the various SNI communities. Some areas have experienced growing community participation and the formation of new neighborhood and business associations. Implementation The implementation of the Neighborhood Improvement Plans will depend primarily on community residents, property owners, and other stakeholders acting as advocates for proposed action items. The Neighborhood Advisory Committees have transitioned from planning to an implementation capacity, with several significant roles and responsibilities. These include organizing and leading its own activities, overseeing and monitoring the progress of the their plans recommended actions, providing input on design and development of public and private projects, completing plan tasks for which it is responsible, and acting as liaison to its member neighborhoods.
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