Ted Smith was inspired to start his Pop-up Clean-up concept after participating in a clean-up during the annual MLK Day of Service. Initially, he targeted West Mill Creek Park, “I was tired of seeing kids standing in filth,” he remarked.
What is the “pop-up” part of his clean-ups? Ted sent out word out on social media about 72 hours before the clean-up.
Several neighbors came out with their kids to assist, but participating in CPI made Ted realize he wanted to try a different approach. As he put it:
After doing the CPI program, I’ve become a member of several community organizations and business associations. I’m using the knowledge I learned from CPI to become more of a force than just an individual.
Ted is now a proud member of Landsdowne Business Association, Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association, West Powelton/Saunders Park RCO (which Citizen Planner Lucia Esther helped found!), and the Chair for Youth Programming on the Belmont Alliance Civic Association Board (which is currently chaired by Citizen Planner Bettye Ferguson!).
He also makes sure to attend all police captain meetings at the 19th & 18th Police Districts.
Ted did give a clean-up concept another try, but this time by supporting an existing clean-up organized by A&W Community Solutions. There was a much larger turnout this time around!
Ted also advocated for his neighbors on 52nd Street, where a water main broke in June 2016, causing property damage and temporary displacement. Eventually he became the official liaison between Councilwoman Blackwell and the community, and helped residents get the costs of repairs covered.
CPI changed my neighborhood involvement 180 degrees. I’m much more aware of my community and its needs.
CPI also helped Ted with his goal of eventually purchasing the house next to his and rehabbing it. He attended the CPI elective on the Land Bank and spoke with the instructor, then-Executive Director of the Land Bank, John Carpenter.
CPI opened my eyes to for-profit and non-profit development. Amenities you never think about, like dog parks. Who actually pays for that?
Ted also became a Committeeperson upon completing CPI, and serves the 44th Ward, 18th Division. If you think Ted looks familiar, it may be because you recognize him from his recent run for State Representative of the 190th Legislative District!
One of the main causes Ted championed and continues to champion is increased hiring of local and minority contractors for development projects in the area. He has been working with the African American Chamber of Commerce to compile a comprehensive list of minority contractors. Ted also recruited some lawyers to help contractors with their paperwork.
CPI also taught Ted not to reinvent the wheel, and to collaborate with his neighbors. After taking the course, he started reading up on existing neighborhood plans for his area, and attending other local civic association meetings, including Mantua Civic Association and Belmont Civic Alliance, both of which are currently chaired by Citizen Planners(!) Dewayne Drummond and Bettye Ferguson, respectively.
He described how:
CPI has opened my eyes to the plans that are already out there, I’ve read a bunch of plans for my area since then, and gotten a lot of ideas from them.
The latest idea? A community organization he started called Mill Creek on the MOVE, which is dedicated to collaborating with local non-profits and community groups to increase capacity and engage more people in the community. They will also initiate other vital workshops and seminars that we feel are needed in our community.