Community Voices Their Hopes for the Future of Tabor Commons
As of October 31st, 181 respondents have replied to our online survey and 28 community members attended our community meeting on October 27th to share their thoughts about the future of Tabor Commons (located on SE Division and 57th, previously Café au Play). Both the comments collected at the community meeting and the survey responses will be shared with SE Uplift’s Board at their November 7th Board meeting, which is open to the public. The Board will be asked to use this information and other key factors to start narrowing potential options for the future of the property.
What we’ve heard! During the community meeting October 27th, people asked questions – a lot of them! Participants asked whether SE Uplift could put conditions on the sale of the property (if it chooses to sell) to limit sales to other non-profits. They also wanted to know what would it cost to redevelop the property, and what amount in rent SE Uplift would need to charge in order to cover basic costs and maintenance, if the property stays in its current form. These are the types of questions SE Uplift staff and volunteers supporting this project plan to research and answer during the next phases of the process. (To see our timeline, go to www.seuplift.org/tabor-commons.)
Overall, results at the meeting and survey showed a strong interest in keeping the property as a community resource. Meeting participants’ top preferences for the use/function of the property echoed what survey respondents have stated: community members want to see this property used as a community gathering place, a place for arts and cultural opportunities, and for it to be open to public use.
As for the future design and capacity of this site, respondents are supportive of using it as is or redeveloping it. The majority of survey respondents and meeting goers indicated they want the current character preserved. For example, they would like to see a welcoming space with environmental design features and a building that does not cover the entire site. Minority opinions indicated they wanted to see a new large building with the ability to accommodate many uses. We also heard from a small group of people that the property would be an ideal nonprofit workspace, site for affordable housing, and/or revenue-generator for SE Uplift.
Who have we heard from? The majority of respondents live or work close to the property in the Mt. Tabor, South Tabor, and Richmond neighborhoods. However, Sunnyside, Woodstock, Hosford-Abernethy, Foster-Powell, Brentwood-Darlington, Creston-Kenilworth residents and others have also voiced their opinions online.
What’s the story of this property? Tabor Commons is located at 5633 SE Division Street. The community gained ownership of this former drug crime property after a three-year effort lead by the Mount Tabor and South Tabor Neighborhood Associations along with the Atkinson Elementary School PTA. In 2006, these community organizations asked SE Uplift to take formal ownership of the property on behalf of community partners. From 2006 to 2010, these community organizations partnered with Café au Play and hundreds of community volunteers to redevelop the property. (Read here for the Bureau of Environmental Services’ summary of the Brownfield redevelopment that happened on the site in 2008).From 2010 to 2015, Café au Play operated a family-friendly community coffee shop on the property. Café au Play hosted many community events, discussion groups, kid-focused entertainment, and a barista training program for high school students. In early 2016 Café au Play closed its doors, due primarily to a lack of financial sustainability.
What’s next for this property? The SE Uplift Board is excited to explore a new use for this property that aligns with the wishes of the community, is financially and administratively feasible, and aligns with SE Uplift’s mission and values. The SE Uplift Board will review community input and narrow the potential options for this property at their November board meeting. Staff and volunteers will conduct further assessment and research, under the direction of the SE Uplift Board of Directors. If you have any expertise, skills, or knowledge you are willing to share with SE Uplift to help us better understand the feasibility of this site moving forward, please contact Leah Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org. Refer to the timeline on the project website for more information about the process. We anticipate another community outreach event early in the new year to share updated information and continue narrowing options with input from the community.
Haven’t had a chance to take the Survey? While the SE Uplift Board will review results November 7th, the survey will remain open and continue to be referenced until a decision is made in the new year.