By Sandi Latimer
Now that the Westland area has been chosen as a participant in Neighborhood Pride program, the city and the Westland Area Commission are working on plans for that late October experience.
Bruce Black, who heads the program, attended the April 20 Westland Area Commission meeting and promised to be back every month through October, guiding the commission through the steps necessary for a successful program.
Neighborhood Pride will be centered in an area bounded by Hall Road on the north, Galloway Road on the west, Norton Road on the east and Glenwillow on the south. The program is a partnership between residents and the city of Columbus whose various departments bring a
wide variety of services into specific areas for a week.
Although it has a designated area in Westland, all residents within the boundaries of the Westland Area Commission are encouraged to attend the many functions.
The first thing Black needs is a large gathering space where breakfast and lunch can be served to the neighbors each day of the program. He said he is talking with pastors of churches in the area in an attempt to get them to free up their fellowship halls the week of Oct. 24-28.
Included in the program are a Neighborhood Safety Academy, led by the community liaison officers from the police department, a bicycle ride through the area, a meeting Thursday with the mayor and his cabinet, and a cookout the last day.
Black is also waiting for response from the South-Western City Schools District, for which school can host a bicycle safety program geared toward the children. Bicycle helmets will be given to children who don’t have them.
Meanwhile, auditions are being held during lunch hours in the middle schools in search of participants for a talent show, an event for one evening.
Between now and October, representatives from each department in the city will tour the area seeing how they can help the residents.
One example Black gave at the meeting was in the area of jobs.
“If someone is looking for a job, COWIC (Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation) will be there,” he said. “Instead of the applicant having to go to a far-off location, he/she can fill out the application there.”
Westland is the fifth area to have the Neighborhood Pride program for this year. Others will be held in Brittany Hills May 23-27, South Side and South Central Commons June 27-July 1, South Linden Aug. 8-12, and MACC and East Hampton Sept. 19-28.
In the 16 previous years, 89 neighborhoods have been serviced by Neighborhood Pride; more than 76,553 parcels of land were inspected, 2,577 street lights were repaired, 8,892 fire hydrants were painted and 1,459 tons of bulk trash was picked up. In addition, more than 1,000 businesses have given back some $1 million of in-kind goods and services to their communities through the Neighborhood Pride Partner Program.
City councilman Shannon Hardin also attended the commission meeting, encouraging members to work to get area residents involved.
“Representatives of various city departments will walk up and down the streets of the designated area,” he said. “They’ll know the area better than the residents do.”
Hardin serves as chair of the council’s transportation committee and was seeking input from the Westland area.