Our city and its neighborhoods are facing some very serious topics right now. We are rewriting our plans for land use and transportation, we are constantly incorporating new residents into our city, which is experiencing a housing shortage, and we are trying to decide how to be a leading US city on so many social and economic issues. This month our mayor is about to release his 2017 budget and he’s calling for a very large bond issue to improve our infrastructure. Oh yeah, and then there is the vote coming up on Nov 8th which has a 15 important ballot questions (6 specifically for Denver). With all of this change, I am amazed and impressed, month after month, by the work that community leaders do to tackle these issues and build relationships in our neighborhoods and with our city government. The work we do as presidents, officers, and board members is so vital to the improvement and growth of our city. In and of themselves the seemingly small acts that RNOs perform can sometimes be drown out by the news of the city, but when held together, in parallel, with the other events sponsored by neighborhoods all around the city, the volume of positive change that comes from RNOs becomes loud enough that everyone in the city hears us. And to think that we do all of this work as volunteers, in addition to our family and economic responsibilities. The work RNOs do is simply amazing. Like city employees, we neighborhood leaders are expected to be fluent and knowledgeable about the ever evolving topics and resources that keep our city running. However unlike city employees, we don’t get to have our day jobs be places where we are constantly exposed to the newest ideas and topics that keep our city growing. We have to take it upon ourselves to build the relationships and find the information that will help our neighborhoods thrive.
It is this need for knowledge sharing and exposure to the city’s important issues that is a pillar of importance for the INC and for your membership in Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation. When representatives from your RNO attend INC committee meetings and our delegate meetings, you have a great opportunity to keep up with the changes that the city government is making. INC creates the opportunity to participate in the decision making process and to influence the decisions that are made. Just this month, at our Zoning and Planning meeting, we were presented plans the city is working on for 2017 zoning text amendments and a new approach to implementing neighborhood plans. They came to us early in their stages of development and welcomed our input and feedback.
Although, yes, we have our struggles and our needs to include more neighbors in our cause and recruit more participation in the work of registered neighborhood organizations, I want to say that there is already great work being done; every month and in every corner of the city. Neighborhood organizations are building community and improving our standard of living. In my neighborhood, Harvey Park, we have a new slogan, “Neighbors Creating Community!” We live this by making a difference in education, community spaces, and sustainability. In INC we also have a slogan, “Neighborhoods Work Better When They Work Together.” I hope you will join us for our next set of community meeting in November as we build community connectivity and tackle the topics of homelessness, improving our parks system, and tackling smart growth though responsible urban planning. Take care and don’t forget to vote.
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