The Community Organizes

Susan Causin introduces herself at the Victory Heights Community Council meeting.

The second meeting of the revived Victory Heights Community Council was held Thursday night at the place used during its heyday 10 years ago, the Victory Heights Cooperative Preschool in the park.  Nearly two dozens residents (and a few from nearby communities) got together to begin organizing the new Community Council.  North District Council representative Susan Causin lead the meeting and began by having everyone quickly introduce themselves. Attendees included a couple who had just moved in a year ago from out of state to a woman who has been in Victory Heights since 1964 (her children–now grown–attended the preschool when it was the local elementary school).

Eileen Canola, who has been working tirelessly to get a traffic circle put in on 23rd Avenue NE and NE 105th Street, distributed a draft of proposed bylaws to govern the Council. Everyone took home a copy to peruse which will be voted on at the next meeting in January. We will need to fill the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Volunteers wanted!

Eileen also spoke about funding projects and how having an organization like the Community Council make a much more credible presence to the city and can help get money spent on our community that otherwise would go elsewhere.

Some of the issues discussed included the problem of needles being found in the park (if you see someone suspicious, call the police), and adding more traffic calming in the neighborhood to slow down cars. On a positive note, there was a desire to make meetings “fun” perhaps by involving kids, or some sort of food challenge. It was noted over Halloween a number of people gathered at the ghost ship that was constructed, and that similar neighborhood-building events (like the Easter egg hunt that used to occur in the park) be organized.

I talked a bit about the blog, as well as other local social media sites like Next Door and the Victory Lane blockwatch e-mail list administered by Susan. The sandwich board signs we put out were a mixed success, the lettering on some washed off in the rain, and a few folks complained there wasn’t enough information on them for people to know what the meeting was about. Next time we’ll deploy the signs better, including up on Northgate Way, they seem to be an effective part of our awareness strategy.

Janine Blaeloch of Lake City Greenways talked about the efforts to map routes around the city more friendly to bikes, pedestrians and kids, “A street for people,” she called it. They are hoping to crowd source from local residents the very best routes and then work with the city on making them safe and to work on “walkability and transportation issues at large.”

Finally, in negotiation with the Preschool as well as taking into account the various other organizations that meet during the month, it was decided that future Community Council meetings would be on the 3rd Tuesday of the month, the next will be January 15, 2013 at the Preschool (they rent from the city between September and May for the school, during the summer the Council will have to negotiate directly with the Parks Department.  Apparently it was a condition when the building was turned over to the city originally that it would be made available for community meetings, so this shouldn’t be a problem).

See you in January!

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