PROGRESS is measured by momentum and Bridge of Grace is driving the resurgence of the Mount Vernon Park and Pettit-Rudisill neighborhoods. We aim to facilitate the comprehensive, sustained, and replicable revitalization of the southeast Fort Wayne community. We are motivated to improve the quality of life for the residents of southeast Fort Wayne.
We have encountered community members who consider departing southeast Fort Wayne to be their only hope for a positive future. They suspect that their circumstances severely impede their potential. Feelings of helplessness, frustration, and anger interfere and lead to attitudes of apathy and behaviors of transience and neglect. We wish to counteract these challenges with hope and progress.
Our asset-based approach to neighborhood revitalization includes housing renovation, vacant lot activation, infrastructure improvement, job creation, and leadership development. We want to develop indigenous leaders who are equipped to identify and address concerns facing their community. By building upon existing community assets and individual strengths, we will identify opportunities that manifest positive outcomes and progress.
We believe that neighborhood revitalization strengthens southeast Fort Wayne by not only changing the community’s physical appearance, but by shifting residents’ perceptions. As the community changes for the better, residents’ neighborhood pride will increase, creating a stronger emotional attachment to our community. Progress helps ensure the retainment of our residents and ignites community engagement.
Over the past decade, Bridge of Grace has mobilized our staff, community members, and volunteers to pray for Mount Vernon Park, implement beautification projects, tutor students, testify at public hearings, and build parks out of pallets and tires. Progress can be seen in overgrown lots that are now maintained and once blighted homes that are now restored and occupied.
Our efforts to revitalize southeast Fort Wayne will include the renovation of Brewer park, the five-acre public park located in the northwest corner of the Mount Vernon Park neighborhood. Park renovations were designed by staff of the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department in response to goals created by Mount Vernon Park and Pettit-Rudisill neighborhood residents. Resident established goals included: creating a beautiful space that will celebrate the culture and history of their neighborhood in its people, and, making sure that the park is a safe place that will be welcoming to youth and families.
Brewer Park will provide playgrounds, sport courts, and walking paths, as well as flowering trees, shade trees, and an art garden. It will offer a variety of inclusive activities and programs that will promote physical activity. A new pavilion with running water will add shade and make our community’s park eligible to become a distribution site for summer lunches. Partially funded by the City of Fort Wayne, we will rely on private funding to make the residents’ vision a reality.
To demonstrate our commitment to the health and development of southeast Fort Wayne, we are partnering with experts in our community to build a mental health, physical care, and a developmental clinic in the Mount Vernon Park neighborhood. The clinic will be attached to the new Bridge of Grace offices and early learning center. The clinic will diminish health care and early intervention barriers, while the new offices will serve as a space for community members to use and allow our team to grow.