AZIZZA GOINES: The Dream of Township 9

sac-button-AzizzaOPINION – On Wednesday January 16, 2013, I was invited and honored to witness the groundbreaking ceremony of Cannery Place at Township 9 here in Sacramento. Just in case you’re unaware of this project, it is an urban infill project spearheaded by Nehemiah Corporation and is located off of Richards Boulevard and 7th Street.

I was honored and proud on so many levels. Proud first, because I live here in Sacramento and as one of the stewards of this city, I will be able to talk about one of the largest urban (and undoubtedly successful) infills in the nation. When it is complete, Cannery Place Apartments will provide 180 units of affordable housing and retail space for many here in Sacramento.

The dream of Township 9 began many years ago and was lead by Scott Syphax, President and CEO of the Nehemiah Companies. Scott, too makes me proud. Scott and I share a passion for the need — and quite frankly the good sense — of incorporating the sincerest form of collaboration whenever possible for the good of all we serve.

Having said that, my pride swelled tenfold at this groundbreaking as I witnessed an incredible collaboration between Nehemiah housed here in Sacramento and led by Scott, SHRA (Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency) led by Executive Director LaShell Dozier, an African American women who shared Scott’s vision, Michael Johnson and Muhammad Nadhiri owners of UrbanCore, an African American-owned company with a goal of re-branding urban infill developments, and Integral, a company whose mission is to create value in cities and rebuild the fabric of cities.

Witnessing these powerful individual decision makers, share the same stage — the same vision — for something far greater than their own egos renewed my belief that we can get out of our own way and as Mayor Kevin Johnson states at every Indivisible meeting “check our egos at the door,” we can get something meaningful done working together for the good of, if not all, many.

I would be remiss in not mentioning that there were other partners in this collaboration particularly the John Stewart Company, my friend Steve Goodwin and others, but I wanted this focus to be about successful collaboration among our own. Here is a model of successful African American business leaders working collectively to build a project that can sustain itself and provide a good life for many of our citizens right here where we live.

It’s not been easy. The road has been long and it’s been hard in the economic climate we’ve experienced these past few years. Scott asked and received from the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce a letter of support for this project several years ago. But nobody gave up or in and nobody turned on another to “get theirs at any cost.”

Let’s not only witness this model of collaboration, but learn from it, use it as a best practice and build upon it striving to make great collaborations for the good of us all. Scott, LaShell, Michael, Muhammad and all of you, far too many to mention — I thank you so sincerely. I am proud of you and will take from you this sense of collaboration, its success, and try often through continued collaboration to move our community and city forward.
By Azizza Davis Goines
President and CEO, Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce

Azizza Davis Goines, President and CEO of the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, serves the mission of her Chamber by assuring member businesses will benefit through services the Chamber offers that help them to sustain and increase their revenues. She can be reached at (916) 231-0416 or at  Please visit the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce online at

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