By Nathaniel A. Lopez
San Manuel Miner
On July 18, the Miner caught up with the president of the San Manuel Revitalization Coalition. Kennedy Ivy has been a resident of San Manuel for the past three years. Originally from San Diego, Kennedy and his wife made their way to Arizona after he got out of the Navy. While working in Catalina, Kennedy heard from his co-workers about how San Manuel was a good place to raise children. In the process of starting his own family, Kennedy made the move to San Manuel.
While working for a resident, he was told about a group of locals who were getting together and discussing town issues while looking for a resolution. After accepting the invitation to join the conversations, Kennedy stayed involved and was eventually asked if he’d like to be the president. The group began to evolve, and turned into a community development corporation. Now the San Manuel Revitalization Coalition is a 501(C)3, with more than 200 participating members.
At the beginning, the group put out a “needs assessment survey”, discovering the two biggest problems were drug use and lack of activities for the youth. The SMRC started working with the Arizona Youth Partnership, and with them, they’ve been able to host small conferences that help teach the youth how to make good choices and healthy living skills. Starting in August, they will begin a “too good for drugs” program for youth fifth through seventh grades. The program will span the course of 10 weeks, and will be every Friday.
“We’re just trying to keep these programs going,” Kennedy said, “so that the kids have a healthy outlet for something.”
A few months ago, the SMRC leased the community center on Fifth Avenue from the county. With the community center they have been able to host family movie nights, and community meetings.
“Our biggest accomplishment so far, has been taking over the community center,” Kennedy said. “It’s great to just have a place where everyone can congregate and get to know each other.”
The county just recently broke ground for renovations to the Fifth Avenue park, where they will be installing new equipment.
The SMRC is also in the process of trying to revive the San Manuel Farmers Market.
If you would like to contribute to San Manuel Revitalization Coalition’s mission for making a better community, come to a community meeting. Community meetings are held on the last Saturday of every month, with a start time of 10 a.m. at the San Manuel Community Center, 111 Fifth Avenue, across from the public library.