Through revitalization, DASH strives for environmental sustainability. The goal is to eliminate blight while utilizing the existing street and utility infrastructure and maximizing existing amenities such as sidewalks and mature trees. Sensitive to the historic craftsmen architecture of the neighborhood, DASH carefully considers the design and materials used for new construction and the rehabilitation of homes. Focused on sustainability, DASH uses building components and construction techniques to minimize future maintenance and reduce utility costs. All DASH homes comply with EnergyStar® standards and incorporate green building techniques. DASH completed its first EarthCraft Certified house in 2012.
Creating a vibrant commercial district is critical to the long-term success of Hillside’s revitalization. DASH works to retain and attract businesses that are complementary to residents needs and those that draw patrons from the larger community into the neighborhood. Existing business owners have been assisted with low-interest loans to make streetscape improvements enhance the appeal of the area. DASH has successfully renovated two commercial spaces that attract new businesses and people to the neighborhood: Doc Spier’s Gathering Place, an open-air venue for community events, and Hillside Station an indoor venue for community activities. Development options are being explored for other DASH-owned property within the commercial district.
“Neighborhood revitalization” generally conjures up visions of physical improvements – bricks and mortar, landscaping. The sustainability of these improvements over time, however, is largely dependent on the people who live in the community and who are invested in its future. DASH works closely with residents to understand their needs and their vision for their community. Active community leadership is encouraged through involving residents in the development and implementation of programs, services and events that are important to them. After-school programs, summer day camps, teen mentoring, softball and soccer leagues, holiday events and social gatherings have been coordinated and largely staffed by neighborhood volunteers.