COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Wedgewood Village Apartments on Columbus’ west side is known for its violent history.
Now, a group of residents is working to change that reputation for the future, pushing forward with trying to form a resident council.
The group hosted its first event as a developing organization Saturday to kickstart the neighborhood’s new journey.
The event was an Easter Egg-palooza, which the nonprofit organization MY Project USA helped organize, but this group of community leaders said the event was much more than that. It signifies the start of what they hope will be the new Wedgewood.
“We are all dedicated,” said Wedgewood Resident Council Event Planner Christina McDaniel. “We’ve been here for the last three months together trying to work and get this together. We did our planning, we’ve been trying to get this council started by any means necessary.”
Leaders of the developing Wedgewood Resident Council hope to see more scenes like they saw during Saturday’s event – kids outside playing and laughing.
“It’s a lot of violence that goes on out here and it is terrible, especially if you have small children, and that’s what we are here for. We are here to fix it,” said Wedgewood Resident Council Community Cleanup Leader Melissa Coleman.
These community leaders said Saturday’s Easter event is just the beginning of making Wedgewood a safer place for families.
“If could have been drama, it could have been anything, the usual that people suspect from Wedgewood, but it was none of that,” said Wedgewood Resident Council Community Outreach Leader Shirell Shaw. “It was peace, love, and happiness. We will just continue to do this.”
Each aspiring council member has a role. There is a community outreach leader, a cleanup leader, an event planner, a teen leader, and others.
“I am, so I am trying to get the teens that are willing to cooperate and come together so we can do mentorships,” said Wedgewood Resident Council Teen Leader Layla Sylvester.
There’s also a head of security position.
“I keep an eye out for everybody,” said Wedgewood Resident Council Head of Security Dominic Cook.
All of these members have one common goal.
“We would like everybody to come together to make it safer for the kids because the kids are our future,” Coleman said.
These are the change makers that we have been waiting for,” said MY Project USA Executive Director Zerqa Abid.
The community leaders are hoping to eventually create a community center near Wedgewood where they will offer skills for the children like athletics, tutoring and counseling.
The developing council has been meeting since the beginning of the year. However, in order to become fully official, they must hold an election for their positions.
Abid been working with the Wedgewood residents to form this group.
“HUD housing requires them to have an election and an election means 75 percent of the residents need to participate and that’s the kind of hurdle we have,” she said, adding the group hopes to hold those elections in the coming months.
Residents said they are already brainstorming community engagement ideas to get the rest of the community to come out and vote.
The next event the team has planned is a community-wide gathering on April 22, hoping it will be the first of an annual gathering. The plan for the event is to bring in people to help the residents with things like getting proper health insurance and other community services.