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Mike Dove:The Principals for Strengthening Neighborhoods

This list of principals was provided to the attendees of the 2014 CONA Goals Setting Retreat by Mike Dove, Director, Neighborhood Affairs.


Neighborhoods are the foundation of all great cities. We must recognize that to be a great city, we must be a great place to live and our neighborhoods must be supported to reach those levels. Quality neighborhoods are an economic development issue.

Neighborhoods should be recognized, respected, celebrated, communicated directly with, and encouraged by the City organization.

Recognize that neighborhood organizations can be in many forms: associations, crime watch, faith based, social, youth, etc. that are working toward positive change.

Every neighborhood should be safe (actually and perceived), clean, unique, and listened to with respect by the City organization.The right to be safe includes: safe from criminal acts, the ability to walk or bike safely, for children to be able to play, for elderly or infirm to be able to maneuver, for safety in our homes and on our streets, for properties to be appropriately maintained, and for the perception of safety to be as important as actual safety. "Broken windows" should be fixed immediately.

Every neighborhood should be maintained to the highest level city services can provide and these services should recognize that because neighborhoods are unique they may require different levels of effort to reach the highest levels of maintenance, identity, and safety.

The right to be unique includes the recognition that every neighborhood has different needs, identifying characteristics, history, assets, and that the residents and businesses that live and operate there are the best source for helping to determine those needs.

Neighborhoods are, or could be, the source of providing opportunities for social interaction for all ages. Whether it is parks, porches, sidewalks or the streets. The City can help participation at the neighborhood level by encouraging, recognizing and to some degree supporting the work of neighborhood groups.

Working with neighborhoods is messy, confusing, and challenging. It may require us to do things we have not done before and to stretch resources in different ways. But, most of all it is absolutely essential.

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