Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2015 Neighborhood Symposium

Once a year we gather the Neighborhood Chairs and Vice-Chairs together for a symposium that
provides training as well as networking opportunities. This year's symposium was held in January and we had a chance to hold a Services Fair for neighborhood leaders to learn more about programs and resources available to them.

Neighborhood Chairs are encouraged to delegate so they aren't overwhelmed by tasks and so more residents have an understanding of the process. Provo City Code allows Chairs to appoint helpers and even to form a committee with responsibilities and bylaws. Chairs are also encouraged to consult their manual for information and resources. The manual has been updated and is available online. Let us know if you would like a printed copy.

For those who missed the Symposium, here is some of the information provided:


Matching Grants

Louise Jorgensen in the Council Office talked with several Neighborhood Chairs about potential projects in their neighborhoods that would qualify for matching grants. Contact her at 801-852-6120 if you have any questions.

Emergency Preparedness/CERT
Chris Blinzinger, Provo City's Emergency Management Coordinator, was able to talk about the City's emergency plan and the role that neighborhood leaders can play in helping with effective communication in an emergency. Neighborhood Chairs who feel like this is too much to take on (with everything else they're doing) are encouraged to delegate. Having a point person in the neighborhood for emergency preparedness is a great asset. Chris can be contacted at 801-852-6455 or cblinzinger@provo.org.

Community Oriented Policing (COP)
Officers from COP explained their role in the neighborhoods and encouraged Neighborhood Chairs to include them in future meetings. Their focus is on partnerships, long term neighborhood issues, and quality of life concerns. You will still call 911 or Police dispatch for current situations requiring police attention, but COP officers can help when there are long-term problems or patterns developing in your neighborhood. They can be reached through Janna-Lee Haigh at 801-852-6271.

Envision Utah
Envision Utah is working on some tools for helping Provo work toward cleaner air. They shared some facts and passed along this poster. Check out their website for more great information.

Redevelopment Agency - CDBG
Provo City's Redevelopment Agency administers the City's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships, and other HUD programs. They can be contacted at 801-852-6160.

Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity of Utah County is a nonprofit organization that has been providing affordable housing to local families in need. They also have a tool library available to Provo residents and their ReStore which has new and gently used building materials, furniture, and related items for sale. They oversee Provo City's Neighborhood Revitalization Program using CDBG funding and are eager to work with neighborhood leaders. Contact Ashley at 801-368-2260 or ashleyb@habitatuc.org.

Community Development
Land use issues in Provo go through the Community Development department. Neighborhood Chairs are contacted when items affecting their neighborhood are filed. Neighborhood meetings held regarding these items become key feedback for Council Members as matters appear before them for approval. You are encouraged to ask questions of the City planners so you can keep your neighborhood residents informed and to understand the approval process.

Neighborhoods Online Forum
Jeff Swift from NationBuilder, a former Provo resident, was available to give advice on how to communicate with the residents in your neighborhood. We have also worked with him to test an online forum for Provo's Neighborhood Program. Two areas have been established during this test phase. One is the overall hub for this online community. The other is set up specifically for the Central Area neighborhoods and the Neighborhood Chairs in that area will be invited to receive some extra training on using this forum. Our goal is for it to become a tool for helping neighborhood leaders to connect with residents and giving Provo residents a safe place to share ideas and suggestions to help their neighborhoods.