"Not eating chard. That's what all those weirdos eat at their stupid picnics on the Hungry Ghost lawn." -Nina

February 08, 2008

Ward 3 Neighborhood Association Initiates Notable City Wide Meeting With Neighborhood Groups

From an email sent out to members of the Ward 3 Neighborhood Association, (an association I am a member of) where President Jerry Budgar writes of the recent meeting held on Jan. 31 of many of the various neighborhood groups and associations.

"Your Ward 3 Neighborhood Association board has embarked on an important initiative to bring together all the ward- and neighborhood- based groups in the city to discuss ways to assist each other and encourage cooperation and collaboration among them.

We held the first meeting of these combined groups on Thursday, January 31 at the Florence Civic and Business Association building. That organization graciously offered the use of the facility, and the following groups were represented: Bay State Village Association, Broad Brook Coalition, Florence Civic and Business Association, Leeds Civic Association, North Street Association, South Street Neighborhood Association, South Street Neighbors, Ward 3 Neighborhood Association, and Ward 6 Association.

During the first part of the meeting, we identified challenges we face as organizations, and the most commonly mentioned were increasing membership, encouraging volunteers to step forward, and communicating with members. We will discuss these and other organization- building challenges in future meetings.

We then discussed the local and citywide issues the groups are addressing. We found there are some cultural differences between the groups, with some, like ours, more issue oriented, and others more focused on programs and events that build local and neighborhood community. But interest was expressed in such issues as flooding and wetlands protection, the ability of these groups to help the city by identifying critical land for preservation, traffic calming, and sustainability. Each of these issues has impacts around the city and there will be attempts to begin interacting as various groups address them. For our part, the Ward 3 Association offered to add members from other groups to our traffic calming and sustainability committees so they could work with our committees and not have to start working on these issues from scratch.

Finally, we talked about ways the various groups could work together on sponsoring programs and projects. One idea, generated by our secretary Lola Reid, was to sponsor a series of programs on our own city government. Various departments would be asked to make presentations and answer questions so citizens could get a better handle on what they do and how residents can have input on decisions they make. A committee of five from four different organizations was constituted and will meet soon to begin planning the programs.

Among other suggestions made at the meeting was one that we ask the city to include links to the neighborhood groups' websites from the city's website. I will see that that request is sent along to the proper individuals in city government. Another suggestion was a competition among the groups in reducing carbon footprints in our
wards and neighborhoods.

The combined group agreed to meet quarterly, with the next meeting to be held at the Florence Civic and Business Association building in late April or early May.

I want to thank Councilor Bob Reckman and Vice President Jim Nash for helping plan the agenda, Jim for bringing great refreshments, and Secretary Lola Reid for agreeing to take minutes of the meeting. Your efforts contributed greatly to the success of the meeting.

If you wish to discuss this initiative, or have comments or suggestions to offer, feel free to contact me at: gbudgar@rcn. com

Jerry Budgar"
--Ward 3 Neighborhood Association
--Florence Civic and Business Association
--Leeds Civic Association
--Broad Brook Coalition
--North Street Association
--South Street Neighbors
--South St Neighborhood Association
--Bay State Village Association, Peter McLean, President. 298 Riverside Drive Bay State Village, MA 01062 586-7961 pmclean@lefh.net
--Ward 6 Association Northampton

(video of Ward 3 Neighborhood Association President Jerry Budgar, addressing City Council, from Northamptonist's YouTube)

LABELS: community building, ward 3 neighborhood assoc

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