Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

August 7, 2013

Get involved

City wants to revitalize neighborhood associations

If enough people respond, the city of Cumberland will have success in reinvigorating its six existing neighborhood groups — and maybe even see some new ones created.

For years, neighbors have banded together in various sections of the city in an effort to improve their neighborhood. There have been a number of success stories, including improvements in the Maryland Avenue, Chapel Hills West and North End areas.

But the effort has lagged in recent years as the groups have seen a diminishment in activity. One notable exception has been the South Cumberland Business and Civic Association, which has a thriving membership.

Now the mayor and city council want to revitalize all of the groups and have the associations work closely with the city in making suggestions and improvements. The groups targeted are the Upper West Side Coalition of Active Neighbors, Decatur Heights Neighborhood Group, Rolling Mill Neighborhood Association, Chapel Hill West Neighborhood Association, North End Watch Association and the South Cumberland Business and Civic Association.

“Government can insulate itself at times. The neighborhood groups help bring issues that matter to people to the front,” said Mayor Brian Grim. Grim and City Councilwoman Nicole Wagoner are in the front of the move to revitalize the neighborhood groups. “We are looking for some fresh perspectives,” said Grim.

About 15 years ago the Neighborhood Advisory Commission was crated to serve as an umbrella group for the various neighborhood associations. The commission, which meets bimonthly at City Hall, is made up of four citizens-at-large, two members from the mayor and council and a code enforcement administrator, police officer and community development official.

The meetings are an effective way of communicating ideas and problems to city leaders. By having all of the groups band together, the city has a better picture of individual neighborhood issues as well as getting a city-wide perspective on what needs to be done.

Residents interested in serving on the commission are encouraged to write to the city and include an explanation as to why they want to be a member.  Send letters to: City Hall, Attention: City Clerk, 57 N. Liberty St., Cumberland, MD 21502. For information on neighborhood groups, call the city at 301-759-6447.

By getting involved, citizens have an opportunity to make a difference on the street where they live, and perhaps an impact on the entire city.

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