Paul Osborne's
City's Neighborhood Meetings, Walks Are Underway

The City of Decatur held this summer’s first in a series of neighborhood walks and gatherings last Thursday evening.
This time it was in the Moundford Terrace area on the city’s north side, with Moundford Free Methodist Church at 1803 E. Mound as the meeting place.
The kick-off was not heavily attended -- but the effort on the part of the council and city staff to be more accessible should be commended.

  PURPOSE: According to information released by the City, “The purpose of the walks/gatherings is to encourage a better connection between residents and the city, gain input on local neighborhood successes and concerns and to provide and encourage direct interaction.” 
The city council and staff have been making the neighborhood contacts in various areas the last few years  “in an effort to learn first-hand the needs of individual neighborhoods, identify success stories and to encourage dialogue with residents.”
This year, the City has altered the walk format “in an effort to provide opportunities for individuals who might want to participate but do not live along a walk routes and to allow for a more efficient sharing of information.”
ADJUSTMENT: This year, events begin with gatherings at a predetermined neighborhood location with city staff leading a discussion “about city requirements for property maintenance, available neighborhood resources, community recreational opportunities and other requests that have come up as part of past walks.
“Brief walks will follow the sessions as necessary and events will extend through the winter months in more of a town hall format in order to continue the neighborhood conversations during inclement months. The winter dates will be determined in the coming weeks.”
Residents who live in the area that is going to be visited on a particular night will receive a letter detailing start locations and media will be notified as well.
The schedule ahead includes: National Night Out, Aug. 5th (Fans Field Park, Garfield Park, and Greenwood Park), WENA on Aug. 21, Galloway on Sept. 18 and Holiday Hills on Oct. 23rd
According to an additional note from the city: “All walks/gatherings are scheduled to take place during the week of city council meetings.  There will not be a formal gathering during the first meeting in August (National Night Out held on August 5th), which consists of a caravan and collaborations between various neighborhoods at 3 different parks:  Fans Field, Garfield, and Greenwood.
“The neighborhood walks represent one of a number of different city initiatives designed to clean up and reinvigorate city neighborhoods.” 
Contact Richelle Irons at 217-424-2864 or Billy Tyus at 217-424-2727 for more information about the walks.

PREVIOUS EFFORT: This effort by the city council and staff to be more accessible to residents in their own neighborhoods is more successful than a similar effort we tried when I was mayor.
In that effort, we met in a few neighborhood churches, Macon County Health Department and Stephen Decatur High School to give people the opportunity to talk to us about their concerns and questions in a less formal environment than a council meeting at the civic center.
After several such meetings were held, we felt they were not productive because the few people who attended were essentially the same people each time we met with the same concerns -- plus they were also showing up at council meetings.
The present idea to use meet and walk in various neighborhoods seems to be a better approach.   

Macon County Clerk Sends Out Revised Election Calendar

Monday, Macon County Clerk Steve Bean send me a revised version of dates involving the Consolidation Election of April 7, 2015.
You can click HERE to see the deadlines involved from gathering and filing signatures to the actual election.
Thanks for the information, Steve.

Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY.  


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Paul Osborne
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