Model Block Programs

Lincoln Road Model Block Program Initiative

Why is this Community a Priority at this Time?

There are a few concentrations of housing problems dispersed throughout the City of West Palm Beach, but the Coleman Park, stands out in terms of high concentrations of substandard housing, low owner occupancy, vacant lots, and blight intersecting with concentrations of minority populations. Driving through sections of the Coleman Park neighborhood reveal unsightly vacant lots used for dumping debris. These same vacant lots are difficult to develop because they are very small and shallow.  Many of the existing homes are located on narrow streets with limited parking and poorly maintained. Compared to other areas in West Palm Beach, home developers bypass the Coleman Park for more lucrative sites. Home values for existing homeowners remain low relative to other nearby areas leaving residents with little hope for increasing equity for home improvements or building wealth.   In addition to the lingering effects of low property values due to historical redlining, it costs more to live in a market rental property in Coleman Park than it does to own and occupy a home.

The Program

Creating opportunities that enable Coleman Park residents to reach their full potential requires a comprehensive approach including home ownership, which is the cornerstone for creating a stable single-family neighborhood. Working in partnership with residents, the City of West Palm Beach and the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Neighborhood Renaissance is spearheading a Model Block Program for Lincoln Road in the Coleman Park neighborhood. The Model Block will include four new affordable homeownership opportunities through single-family new construction on vacant lots, rehabilitation of five to six owner occupied homes, street beautification and code enforcement. The goal of a concentrated effort on this one block is to eliminate blighted vacant lots, increase homeownership and investment, and, contribute to the economy by bringing more working families into the neighborhood. Often times new homeowners in the neighborhood encourages existing owners to invest in their own homes since they see increasing market values.

Resident Involvement

We will facilitate dialogue with Coleman Park residents focused on bringing neighbors together to share different views, ideas, and experiences. In the process, people begin to develop leadership skills, build stronger relationships and learn the importance of working together. This is necessary for any long-term change to occur.  The residents will be able to use these new skills to address crime, dumping and code enforcement issues in their community. The idea is to share concerns and look for ways to make things better in the Coleman Park community.

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The Success of the Northwood Model Block Program in West Palm Beach

The redevelopment of the Northwood neighborhood and its business corridor required an integrated, comprehensive approach using the nationally known best practice “Model Block” program.  This approach incorporated a two-year planning process that resulted in three new mixed-use zoning districts with new urban design standards that immediately paved the way for new commercial and residential developments.  Within a span of five years Neighborhood Renaissance in partnership with the City of West Palm Beach achieved the following:

  • Constructed 35 new homes and rehabilitated 14 properties as well as assisted 65 families to purchase homes at a total investment of $8 million.
  • Administered a business district beautification, security, and small business incentive program, and developed new urban design guidelines for the Northwood Village.
  • Developed within the business district, the Renaissance Courtyard, the first mixed-use residential and commercial project to be built in the Northwood Village, currently owned and managed by Neighborhood Renaissance; recipient of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta EDGE award.
  • Provided small business training and assistance to approximately 150 low and moderate-income entrepreneurs resulting in over 115 jobs for low-income residents.
  • Completed streetscape improvements and landscaping for both the business corridor and the residential areas as part of the redevelopment of the neighborhood.
  • Received several national best practice awards in community development.

This Model Block approach was replicated at a smaller scale in two other neighborhoods: Royal Poinciana in Boynton Beach and Westgate in unincorporated West Palm Beach.

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