Columbia Council of Neighborhoods holds annual meeting
The Columbia Council of Neighborhoods held its annual banquet at the Print Building in Eau Claire December 18, 2008. The Columbia Council of Neighborhoods is a volunteer, community- based umbrella organization which coordinates the activities of approximately 95 city neighborhood organizations. While Columbia is socially and economically diverse, all neighborhoods have similar needs. CCN serves as a clearinghouse for information, provides a forum for discussion of neighborhood issues, and fosters the education of neighborhood leadership. CCN committees are actively addressing such quality of life issues as drugs, crime, and toxic waste.
Prior to CCN, residents often experienced difficulty in effectively communicating community needs; local officials unilaterally decided spending priorities. Neighborhoods competed unequally for available funds, despite similar needs.
CCN now provides a link between neighborhood groups and city officials, enhancing the process of identifying neighborhood problems and setting priorities for solutions. The unusual features of CCN are that each group defines its own community boundaries instead of some government agency imposing a uniform size or shape, and each group participates voluntarily. These concepts of self definition and participation create a real sense of ownership and empowerment.