President Obama said, “change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
In 1993, Mountain View residents, concerned that their community was going in the wrong direction, began an ambitious revitalization effort to improve the social descriptions applied to the neighborhood and create sustainable, lasting changes. While there are still challenges ahead, it is evident that change is taking place in Anchorage’s oldest neighborhood.
Crime is decreasing. The new Glenn Highway and Bragaw overpass has eliminated the dividing line between Mountain View and the rest of Anchorage. Clark Middle School will hold its grand opening next week and will serve students whose test scores are rising. The Anchorage Park Foundation and Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department, in consultation with residents, are restoring and improving the Duldida Park and William B Lyons Park.
When you drive through Mountain View, investment in the commercial and residential sectors is visible nearly everywhere you look. A Credit Union 1 branch is under construction, and will be the first financial institution in the neighborhood in more than 20 years. Modern banking services will be within reach of the 80 percent of families in Mountain View who do not own a vehicle. Across the street a multi-cultural library is going up and will feature a community room and book collections in some of the most common languages spoken in Anchorage, including Yup’ik, Spanish, Tagalog, Hmong and Samoan. Mountain View has not had a local library branch since 1988.
Mountain View now offers a variety of modern and affordable housing options. An astounding 200+ new homes have been built in the past five years by Cook Inlet Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity and other organizations. Buildings plagued by crime have been razed, multi-family buildings have been refurbished, and the rental stock has been bolstered with a variety of new and renewed options.
The Anchorage Community Land Trust and Trailer Art Center recently completed a business plan and selected a site to build a Mountain View Multidisciplinary Art and Culture Center. The center, with its mix of gallery, performance and classroom space, will bring more students, patrons, and artists into the neighborhood and boost support for the local business sector. Rasmuson Foundation made a grant in 2008 to help move this project forward.
The change that has taken place in Mountain View is the result of a consolidated effort that grew from the aspirations of Mountain View residents. Now, it’s time to celebrate. On August 8 from noon to 6 p.m. there will be a Street Fair in Mountain View featuring local vendors, food, prizes, games and entertainment. Perhaps we’ll see you there?