Columbia Holds First “Neighborhood Congress”
Access to transportation, population growth, and rental housing are key topics of discussion that Columbia neighborhood associations are making efforts to address.
By Emily Kaiser (Columbia, Mo.)
Columbia residents from each ward and various neighborhood associations attended a Neighborhood Congress Tuesday. Although there have been informational sessions in the past, this was the first time the Columbia Office of Neighborhood Services hosted a neighborhood congress.
Here’s how this type of congress works: There are six round tables, and each one is designated for discussion of a community issue. Participants are asked to join the table their choice. After about an hour of discussion, each group shares a list of problems and possible solutions they identified with everyone.
Leigh Britt is Manager of Columbia’s of the Office of Neighborhood Services. She says the event allows members of the community to talk with each other and vocalize concerns.
“The neighborhood leaders…those folks that are working within their neighborhood association… they certainly have issues and they have perspectives,” says Britt. “They helped determined the topics of tonight discussion, and so, you know, we want to hear from them.”
The Office of Neighborhood Services plans to send out an electronic survey to get participant feedback on the event. This information will help determine whether there were will be more neighborhood congresses in the future and what improvements can be made to the meetings.