by Chris Young
The Greenfield Organization recently announced that it is at least temporarily shutting down, but board members for the neighborhood group appear to be keeping quiet about the reason why. (UPDATE: After this blog post was published, Greenfield Organization president Dolores Hanna sent us a statement citing fiscal problems as the reason for the closure. See below.)
"We regret to inform the Greenfield Community that the Greenfield Organization is temporarily closed and without a staff person for a major re-organization due to circumstances beyond the control of the Board of Directors," neighborhood group's board of directors wrote in a Jan. 12 letter circulated in a Connect Greenfield community newsletter on Jan. 16.
"The Board of Directors is working diligently to have this loss of service to the community be short term," the letter continues. "[W]e apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our neighbors and look for us in the spring for future updates."
The Greenfield Organization, among other things, has offered residents free income tax assistance and publishes a community newspaper. But the group will no longer be providing those services, according to the letter from the organization's board. Nor will private groups be allowed to use the group's building, located on Greenfield Avenue.
The Greenfield Organization's president, Dolores Hanna, did not respond to a City Paper email. A handful of board members also did not respond to requests for comment. In an e-mail received after this post was originally published, GO president Dolores Hanna wrote:
The Greenfield Organization has closed temporarily due to financial issues. The Board of Directors eliminated all paid staff positions and are re-organizing. We can't offer VITA Income Tax Services this year to our residents but have spoken to Councilman [Corey] O'Connor to see if he can find a way to assist the senior citizens with their taxes possibly out of Magee Senior Center and we have suspended publication of the Greenfield Grapevine. Councilman O'Connor has scheduled a neighborhood meeting for January 26 and the temporary closing of the GO will most likely be one of the topics for discussion. All of that being said look for us to be back in the spring with another update.
O'Connor, who represents Greenfield, declined to go into specifics about the Greenfield Organization's troubles, since he's not a member of the group's board. But he said the community can learn more about the organization's decision to close during the Jan. 26 neighborhood meeting, which is being held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Magee Recreation Center (745 Greenfield Ave.).
"We're going to have someone from the Greenfield Organization make a statement about what went on there," he says, noting that lots of rumors have been swirling about the organization. "They're going to make a statement about why they're going to dissolve for a while."
O'Connor says he wants to make sure that the closing of the Greenfield Organization doesn't have a negative impact on the neighborhood. He says his council office is going to step up its neighborhood outreach to help ensure that positive trends in the community continue.
Greenfield has recently seen its business district on Greenfield Avenue bolstered by the addition of Szmidt's Old World Deli and Copper Kettle Brewing, a brew-it-yourself brewery operated by the owners of the popular neighborhood bar, Hough's. In addition, O'Connor says, more young people are moving to Greenfield.
"We don't want to lose that momentum," he says.
"The Greenfield Organization was a big foundation for the neighborhood," O'Connor adds, "and it still may be in the future."
But for now, he says, the neighborhood needs to figure out how to manage without it.