Strengthening Neighborhood Associations
Active and vibrant neighborhood associations help prevent crime, increase property values, and contribute to reduced recidivism. In many ways, neighborhood associations are the foundation of the city. They provide citizens the opportunity to promote policy changes and voice concerns that are specific to their neighborhoods. But I believe there is much room for improvement in how the city government supports and encourages neighborhood associations.
Currently, there are only about 40 active neighborhood associations in the city and participation in them varies greatly. The geographies some associations cover are also confusing and, in some cases, overlapping. This causes some to be too big and others too small. As mayor, I would launch a task force with a mission to analyze the borders of associations, investigate ways to get citizens more involved and educated about them, and explore ways to empower them. I would also like to increase awareness and participation among renters, making it clear that not just homeowners can participate. I would also work to get more city officials to attend meetings. Strong neighborhood associations create an environment in which citizens are more likely to watch out for each other and create a positive social culture. I will do all I can to strengthen them by creating a strong relationship between the city and these associations.