American Express has granted $30,000 towards Epicenter’s “Serve-In-Place” project! This support is critical, and we are excited at the opportunity to compensate local volunteers for participation in our community development project.
Since 2009, Epicenter has eagerly worked to address local challenges with as much imagination and determination as those tasks require, and Epicenter’s current work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.
The City of Green River recently issued a Request for Proposals for a 3.8-acre vacant lot in the heart of the distressed downtown. The City selected Epicenter’s proposal: Canal Commons, a $1.4-million-dollar development. In order to engage the community as co-creators of this new “micro-community,” Epicenter has developed the “Serve-In-Place” initiative. Modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps (“CCC”) of the 1930’s, this project engages local residents in the development of community assets and pays them for their time and expertise during an economic recession. Epicenter believes it is unethical (especially during a pandemic and nation-wide social unrest) to ask impoverished, rural community members to work without compensation in the form of a cash stipend, childcare, etc. This commitment to removing common barriers to participation will result in both more diverse involvement and long-term stewardship of Canal Commons, both the houses to be built and the accompanying public spaces.
In addition to being impacted by COVID-19 this year, Green River annually suffers from a seasonal economy. With many residents laid off during the fall and winter, Serve-In-Place, an engagement effort blended with a hands-on community revitalization project and COVID-19 relief effort, comes at the perfect time to provide relief to local residents in need of supplemental work. Working alongside Epicenter, our AmeriCorps members, and other partners (eg. University of Utah Extension), local residents will co-create public spaces within the Canal Commons development. Residents will receive stipends for their participation in site cleanups, planning and design efforts, events on site, and hands-on workshops amongst other activities.