Near South Neighborhood revitalization
Since June 28, 2011, the day after he was attacked in his neighborhood and left with a deep cut under his eye, and a few weeks after the murder of a drug-addicted sex worker eighty yards from his home, Mark has been leading efforts to revitalize the Near South Neighborhood, the area southeast of downtown, between downtown and the developing Depot Park. That neighborhood is bordered on the north by Southeast 4th Avenue, on the East by Sweetwater Branch creek, on the south by Southeast Depot Avenue and on the west by South Main Street.
Over the last nine months, Mark has:
- been conferring a Property Of the Month award that recognizes with a prize package of products and services donated by local businesses properties that owners or occupants do the most to improve
- been publishing e-mail newsletters in which he has apprised residents, business people, city and police officials and friends of the neighborhood who live outside of goings on in the neighborhood and of resources available for improving their communities
- been sending e-mail messages to city commissioners and to the police chief informing them of deficient and hazardous conditions in the neighborhood and the services that the neighborhood needs to address those conditions and to enjoy the low levels of crime and nuisances that other neighborhoods in Gainesville enjoy
- been sending e-mail messages to city commissioners, the police chief and public works administrators, supervisors and technicians thanking them for the work that they have done to help the neighborhood
Mark has advocated a sensible and no-nonsense approach to handling the problems that destitute people have caused in the neighborhood. He advocates compassion with accountability. He has advocated for effective and responsible management of social services and considerate and responsible behavior on the parts of destitute people.
Mark envisions the Near South Neighborhood becoming a balanced, diverse, prosperous, lively, attractive, healthy, sustainable and nurturing neighborhood with a mixture of a wide variety of housing sizes and types including "mini-condominiums," one or two, small-scale, transitional housing units; abundant privately owned, distributed, renewable energy systems; community, kitchen and ornamental gardens; clean and responsible retail, high-technology and low-technology businesses, including a bicycle shop and a hardware store; great indoor and outdoor public spaces, including a village green; safe and interesting bicycle routes and abundant bicycle parking; electric vehicle charging stations; Internet cafes; restaurants; art studios and galleries; performing arts venues; a copy shop, package shipping and postal station and information kiosks.
Were the voters of Gainesville to elect him, Mark would be eager to encourage and assist concerned and public-spirited residents of distressed neighborhood reproduce the early successes that he and his neighbors have realized in their neighborhood.