Workshop series urges active neighborhoods

By EMOKE BEBIAK

neighborhoods@columbiamissourian.com

At a neighborhood association workshop residents learned about how to form and keep an association active in their neighborhood. About 15 people were present Wednesday night at the first installment of a four-part workshop educating residents about how to set up and run a neighborhood association. The event was organized by the Office of Neighborhood Services and MU Extension.

Bill Cantin of the Office of Neighborhood Services identified these steps for setting up a neighborhood association.

  • Set up a strong leadership base.
  • Define the boundaries of the association.
  • Organize an informational meeting with the highest possible number of residents present.
  • Plan and vote to form a neighborhood association.
  • Submit to the Office of Neighborhood Services the paperwork and minutes from the meeting that establishes the association.

Neighborhood associations not only help residents meet and socialize with their communities, but also give power to them when it comes to city planning, Cantin said. The organizations can influence development projects and advocate for the rights of residents.

Disseminating information is one of the key roles of neighborhood associations educating people on city government processes and how they can take action.

“The more people know, the more involved they get, and the better the city gets,” Cantin said during a presentation.

After Cantin’s speech, participants were invited to a panel discussion with leaders of active neighborhood associations highlighting the benefits and hardships of running such organizations.

Columbia has 79 neighborhood associations today, 25 of which were formed in the past 10 years.

The upcoming workshops will deal with the nuts and bolts of running a neighborhood association. The meetings are free and open to the public.

Running the Show: Meeting Facilitation
Oct. 20, 6-9 p.m.
Walton Building, 300 S. Providence Road

Where are We Going? Strategic Planning
Nov. 3, 6-9 p.m.
Lenoir Community Center, 3710 Lenoir St.

Get Others on the Bandwagon: Participation and Marketing
Nov. 17, 6-9 p.m.
Parkade Center, 601 Business Loop 70 W

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