Neighborhoods Matter begins in Queen City

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August 5, 2011

Grim focuses on areas with higher levels of blight

CUMBERLAND — In an effort to irradicate blight, the city is starting a Neighborhoods Matter initiative. Mayor Brian Grim went door to door in the neighborhoods looking for areas that had a high volume of blight.

“I wanted to focus on the most challenging areas and the corridors,” said Grim. “It will be an entire city effort with representatives from every part of the city participating.”

The first neighborhoods to be addressed will include Goethe Street, Baltimore Avenue, Maryland Avenue, Elm Street, Virginia Avenue, Henderson Avenue, Columbia Avenue, Park Street and Central Avenue, according to a press release. This is the first time the city has participated in a program like this, Grim said.

Grim selected the areas of concern and the program will begin Tuesday and Wednesday on Goethe Street.

Throughout the month of August and part of September, city code enforcement and fire department staff will undertake a door-to-door survey of each neighborhood to assess general conditions and identify specific issues that need attention. Staff will work to address code compliance issues and, when warranted, provide residents with a checklist of items to be taken care of.

Fire department personnel will be available to check smoke detectors and provide new detection units where needed, while offering fire safety information to residents. Issues regarding street conditions, such as pot holes and street-sweeping schedules, will be assessed and re-evaluated by public works staff, and residents will be encouraged to speak with police department personnel who will be available to address neighborhood safety concerns.

Each day a council member will walk the neighborhoods to evaluate the needs of the residents, and the city officials have invited representatives of the many neighborhood organizations to join them and city staff in this community improvement effort, according to Grim.

“The program name, Neighborhoods Matter, really speaks to the reason behind our efforts,” said Grim in the press release. “We truly do believe this is an issue that needs our collective and concentrated attention because the conditions within a neighborhood greatly impact the quality of life of our residents.”

If a code violation is discovered, the code enforcement officer will follow up, explained Grim.