In Council’s Committee session last week they voted to approve an experiment with a new Neighborhood Liaison position that will be jointly funded as a City-University neighborhood partnership. This item will now go for a final vote in the Regular Council meeting next week (Jan 20th). If you’d like to see the details of the job description, position expectations, salary, etc., click here.
The idea of Neighborhood Liaison was a part of a series of initiatives that the City staff researched and reported back to City Council on that were intended to make sure Kent’s neighborhoods remained strong as they are considered an extremely important part of the community. We titled these efforts the Neighborhood Enrichment Program and you can read more about the program components in an earlier blog post (dated March 2, 2007) or check out the staff proposal on Neighborhood Enrichment.
Here’s also a short list of other blog posts that provided updates on the various elements of the Neighborhood Enrichment program:
Protecting and restoring the quality of life in Kent neighborhoods is a theme that has emerged year after year on citizen surveys and on the list of City Council’s strategic goals. Generally speaking here’s what the goals of strong neighborhoods aims to achieve:
· Strengthen and build effective partnerships with the City’s diverse community; celebrate and capitalize on Kent’s diversity.
· Provide services and programs for a multi-cultural audience.
· Increase awareness, participation and compliance with neighborhood code issues.
· Promote rehabilitation and sustainable infill development.
· Develop programs that encourage neighborhood based initiatives and planning.
· Partner with Kent State University to revitalize campus border neighborhoods.
· Seek programs that instill a sense of neighborhood pride and enhance neighborhood identity.
· Strive to improve the rate of home ownership in Kent.
And here’s how these objectives translated into real program efforts in the last two years:
- Upgraded Code Officer to full time position
- New Exterior Maintenance Code
- New City Tool Loan Program
- Code Compliance Annual Report
- New Citywide Trash Management Service
- New Civil Citation System for Code Violations
- 9 Public Meetings to Update the Zoning Code
- New Neighborhood Liason Position
- New Community Policing Initiative and Grant
Neighborhoods are more than wooden buildings lined up in row along the public right of way; they are that unique public space that is created from the mix of people that call a neighborhood home. Great neighborhoods are what make life in a small town university City such an attractive place for people of all ages and interests; they really are one of our best assets. The challenge is to make sure we look after our neighborhoods and give them the TLC that is required to keep them meaningful and relevant for each generation that chooses to call Kent home. That, in a nutshell, is what the Neighborhood Liaison position is all about.