Thursday, October 14, 2010

How do we improve our neighborhoods? By Bob Yoder

OPINION:  As the Education Hill Neighborhood Meeting approaches on Monday, October 18, you may want to think about ideas to bring up with the city planners.   The city motto for the meeting is:  "We are you".  So, it looks like the city will be all ears.   The meeting hours are 6;30 - 8:30.  Location:  Redmond Junior High.

You'd think that emergency preparedness and safety would be at the top of the meeting list with all the burglaries recently reported and then El Nina expected to bring heavy rains and winds this year.

One of my pet projects is to encourage the City to adapt "Neighborhood Associations". Hundreds of cities across the country, including Kirkland, WA, organize Neighborhood Associations (N.A.) to engage their residents in city plans and bring vibrancy to their communities.

The City of Bend, OR residents explain what Neighborhood Associations mean to them: 
"Neighborhood associations greatly increase the two-way communications between the city and its residents by providing a clear and organized way for residents to speak to their city government.  Neighborhood associations draw people closer to their city government and closer still to their fellow neighbors.  Neighborhood participation gives residents a strong, united voice in civic life and joins them in shared neighborhood projects.  Neighborhood associations are inclusive, reflecting the diversity which enriches a community.  members include families singles, retired people, youths business owners, faith-based organizations, schools, homeowners, and renters.
N.A.'s operate much like a school PTSA, with officers, regular meetings, a web site, and committees, including fundraising.  The N.A. could select committees for:   emergency preparedness, crime prevention, streets & traffic and bike control patterns, fundraising, a school-linkage, GreenRedmond parks, R-Trip, Block Watch, ThinkRedmond business, Land Use planning for ADU's & Tent City, Leadership Institute, beautification gateways, and neighborhood picnic or holiday event.

READ MORE >> on the city's current position  on N.A.  .

I made three visits to the Planning Commission this month and spent an hour with city planners trying to encourage them to include Neighborhood Associations in the October Education Hill Pilot Network meeting. It was too big of a leap for them.  Though the Administration decided N.A. are not in this year's Pilot plan, who knows, maybe next year?

Opinion by Bob Yoder

1 comment:

Mayor John Marchione said...

Letter Mayor Marchione:

I am writing to thank you for sharing your thoughts with us regarding neighborhood associations and to offer additional information about our neighborhood effort. I hope that you join us on October 18th for the Education Hill pilot of Redmond’s Neighborhood Network. The meeting offers a valuable opportunity for a check-in on Education Hill’s neighborhood plan, to seek ideas for small beautification projects, and to meet fellow residents.

We plan to evaluate the success of the Neighborhood Network concept later this year, considering citizen interest, effectiveness, and overall community priorities. The network is not an association yet offers many similar aspects. For example, attendees of the October 18th meeting will consider neighborhood goals. These are non-legislative ideas and, in many cases, are grassroots efforts that citizens implement.

Following the event, we will continue to reach out to Redmond’s citizens to learn their thoughts, to invite them to participate in events and other opportunities such as the Budgeting by Priorities process, and to work with neighborhoods in considering and completing small projects including plantings and subdivision entryway upgrades.
If the Neighborhood Network concept is a success, we will meet with Redmond’s 10 neighborhoods on an annual basis to continue checking in and planning for the next year.

Through consistent, regularly scheduled outreach, we anticipate increased interest and participation in the network, thus establishing strong and diverse connections between the City and citizens as well as between neighbors and friends and potentially increased stewardship opportunities.

We are looking forward to great results from this year’s pilot as well as a premier model for citizen engagement.

In addition, Redmond’s Citizen Academy series helps create knowledge of municipal government for citizens throughout the City. By offering the academy series at frequent intervals, citizens may participate as time allows and may choose to prepare for leadership opportunities throughout Redmond.

Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with us. Please let us know if you have any additional questions concerning the Neighborhood Network or the Citizen Academy. We look forward to your continued participation.


Mayor John Marchione
5670 NE 85th Street
Redmond, Washington 98073-9710