Building Better Neighborhoods special on Nov. 29 will inspire people to improve their communities

CLEVELAND - NewsChannel5's Building Better Neighborhoods initiative looks at inspiring people to take action to improve the communities where they live.    

Join Danita Harris, Chris Flanagan, Joe Pagonakis and John Kosich for our 5 On Your Side Building Better Neighborhoods special. It airs Thursday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. on NewsChannel5.

We will look back at five neighborhoods where NewsChannel5 had a hand in working with community groups and volunteers to spruce up run down spaces. These key neighborhoods were located in Cleveland, Painesville, Elyria and Akron.

We will show you how you, too, can get involved where you live to clean up neighborhoods, make your communities safer and more economically vibrant. We will also go back to the neighborhoods and see how they look months and weeks after the work has been finished.

This special will also inform you on how to get government help to make your neighborhood safer and cleaner. We will be talking to U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge about what's being done on the federal level to free up money to get abandoned homes torn down. We'll also talk to State Rep. Bill Patmon to find out what's being done on the state level to help communities deal with foreclosed and abandoned properties.

NewsChannel5 anchor Danita Harris will interview three key mayors, Holly Brinda from Elyria, Jeffrey Lansky from Maple Heights, and Chris Warren, sitting in for Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. Warren is the city's chief of regional development. We'll find out the biggest problems affecting neighborhoods and how cities are dealing with them. We'll also talk about where you need to turn when you want your city governments to know about problem homes in a neighborhood.

Our own Chris Flanagan will be at the Eastman branch of the Cuyahoga County Library on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland. Joining him will be a host of people who deal with neighborhoods on a daily basis, like Gus Frangos of the Cuyahoga County Landbank, Ronald Traub, Mentor's economic/community director, and Ian Andrews of Lakewood Alive. There will also be several community groups on hand and residents interested in helping revitalize their neighborhoods.

Troubleshooter Joe Pagonakis will be at Lincoln West High School on Cleveland's west side. Joining him will be a team of dozens of volunteers who will be sprucing up the school and tackling a graffiti problem. You'll learn how you can become a volunteer with the organizations like HandsOn Northeast Ohio and Rebuilding Together.

NewsChannel 5's John Kosich will host a webchat on newsnet5.com from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. during the special and for an extra half hour after we're off the air. Frank Ford and Justin Fleming of Neighborhood Programs will join Kosich to answer your questions.

Watch the 5 On Your Side Building Better Neighborhoods special Thursday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m.

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