Organization seeks investment in south Lima

LIMA — Sheri Gary grew up in the south side of Lima before moving away from Lima for 18 years. She was saddened upon moving back to her old neighborhood to find that there was no perceived development or investment.

Now as the vice president of the South Lima Community Development Corporation, Gary, along with president Saul Allen and others on the corporation’s board, hopes to reverse that trend.

“I believe this area specifically has been forgotten for years,” Gary said. “When I was young, we had community stores. Our homes were kept up by our parents, and it was a beautiful neighborhood. We had a lot of manufacturing business out here, and now, there are none of those things.”

Focused on the part of Lima south of Elm Street and east of Metcalf Street, this non-profit corporation has been working on fostering partnerships with businesses and community agencies since its inception in 2022.

“We want to let them know that there is a need and if they come in, it can be fulfilled,” Allen said. “As a business, you can still come into this area and make money. We’re not telling you to come in here and operate at a loss. We want you to see there is a need out here, and you can fulfill it. We’re always seeking funds to help people in need and to help people start businesses.”

Gary added, “We want the grocery stores. We want the gas stations. We want better homes and new housing developments that can be created right here in south Lima.”

The corporation also hopes to create an environment in that part of Lima where families can thrive, and part of that comes with promoting home ownership, Gary said.

“Homeownership is on the decline in south Lima, as most of the people are renting,” Gary said. “We want to educate people on how to become a homeowner, encouraging them to further their education to get those livable-wage jobs.”

Along with working on projects to attract development of the south Lima neighborhoods, the corporation is planning for its annual back-to-school block party later this summer.

“We’re providing school supplies and a fun day for underprivileged families,” Gary said. “It’s not income-based. We’re not checking incomes. We’re doing health screenings, as well at that block party. We’re partnering with the local hospitals. We’re looking into some other joint ventures with other businesses to make it really huge this year.”

The hope is that as the South Lima CDC continues to work, more people and businesses will catch that vision for this part of Lima, Allen said.

“We’re also open to adding additional members — not only individuals, but businesses, as well — to our board,” he said.

To learn more about the South Lima Community Development Corporation or to volunteer, visit or email [email protected].


Many businesses and organizations started right here in the Lima region, with the goal of making an impact in the region. This year’s Celebrating Our Spirit looks at those trailblazers. Read more stories at