Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-10-2013

Abstract

This report addresses the question: What factors have the strongest impact on communal and individual well-being in different neighborhoods in McLean County? It is one part of the larger United Way of McLean County Community Assessment 2014, which will evaluate the assets and needs of McLean County by focusing on respondents’ experiences receiving health and human services. Our findings are based on data from five key informant interviews and four focus groups. This information was collected from four geographically and economically distinct neighborhoods: rural Lexington, East Bloomington, Normal, and West Bloomington. Common themes that emerged from these sessions are: the dearth of opportunities for young people, the desire for more local businesses, praise for city services such as garbage collection, the desire for growth of community, and the importance of churches. A number of other findings, limitations of the assessment, and recommendations and future research are discussed.

Comments

The Neighborhood Assessment was completed by the combined efforts of many individuals in McLean County. This report would not have been possible without the hard work, dedication, and contribution of government workers, community groups, researchers, and members of the community. Researchers from the Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development at Illinois State University would like to thank the United Way of McLean County for giving us the opportunity to conduct the Community Needs Assessment; specifically, we would like to extend this thank you to Ashley Long and Nicole Smith for your advice and helpful suggestions throughout our initial planning phase.

Furthermore we would like to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of the Key Informant Participants. Without their time, cooperation and coordination, the Community Assessment would not be as detailed and the information collected would not be as robust as it is. Additionally, we would like to thank them for their support throughout the focus group recruiting process.

Equally, researchers from the Stevenson Center would like to thank the neighborhoods and community members who took the time to share their opinions and experiences with us during this assessment. Their contribution has been essential to the assessment and to the final recommendations proposed by the Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development.

Finally, it is necessary to acknowledge the support received from local organizations and businesses. We would like to thank Wayman AME Church, Jacob’s Well Church, Stevenson Elementary School, and the Lexington Community Center for hosting neighborhood focus groups. We would like to thank Dr. Vernon Pohlmann for the Pohlmann Family Development Grant, which allowed us to procure refreshments and materials for conducting the focus groups during this assessment. Also, we would like to thank Famous Dave’s BBQ in Bloomington and Kemp’s Upper Tap in Lexington for providing refreshments to participants of these focus groups. Finally, we would like to acknowledge the participation and assistance of Stevenson Elementary PTO, The Center for Family and Youth Solutions, WGLT and the West Bloomington Revitalization Project during our focus group recruiting efforts.

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