By WAQAS NAEEM
The East Campus Neighborhood Association considers bettering its residents’ lives its most important duty.
“The purpose of the organization is to improve the quality of life for all residents,” according to Section 3 of the association’s by-laws. “East Campus Neighborhood Association will facilitate communication among residents of the area and between the residents and local government.”
President of East Campus Neighborhood Association Bonnie Bourne said the group helps the City of Columbia educate the neighborhood’s residents about city ordinances.
“We have an excellent relationship with people who work in the city government and the police,” Bourne said.
This good rapport helps them raise awareness about any issues residents face, she said.
Most of the issues arise during the first semester at the university since a lot of students move into the neighborhood during this time, Bourne said. She said the association has prepared a memo to help introduce newcomers to the neighborhood and create awareness about city rules and regulations. The memo addresses issues like parking, noise levels, trash and setting off of fireworks.
East Campus is a low crime area, Bourne said. During the 30 years Bourne said she has spent on East Campus, the area has only experienced two minor robbery incidents.
“We consider it a very safe neighborhood,” Bourne said. However, the police have mentioned a pattern of vandalism and robbery on or near East Campus, she said.
“We have requested more police presence,” Bourne said. She said the request was made recently but police have always been very responsive in the area.
Parking is another major issue facing East Campus, Bourne said.
“Problem with parking is there are so many people moving to the neighborhood and most of them are new,” she said. “They don’t see the signs that say ‘no parking’.”
She is worried about the situation because East Campus is along one of the city’s main bus routes, the 106 Brown route, and cars parked on University Avenue might hinder the movement of buses.
Bourne said she hopes the instructions in the memo will help overcome these problems.
Although the association doesn’t have regular meetings, Bourne said they get together for important business matters.
“We will definitely meet a couple of times this semester,” she said, referring to a fundraiser the association is planning to hold for some additions to the Clyde Wilson memorial park in October.
According to Bourne, the association encourages communication among the residents. It uses a website as a social platform for the neighborhood. Recently, it had to change its website address because of some charging issues with the web-host and they haven’t been able to pick things up since.
“We’ve been working at fixing some of the kinks in the website,” she said.
The association also has a Google group, which they plan to populate soon.
Bourne has been the president of the neighborhood association for three years. She completed her Ph.D. at MU in 1983. She retired nearly five years ago from MU where she worked on administrative projects at the office of the MU Chancellor. Currently, she works as a consultant for organizational change and improvement. She’s also a jazz pianist.
The East Campus Neighborhood Association is one of more than 70 neighborhood associations recognized by the City of Columbia.