Saturday, March 22, 2008

Neighborhood input...Tampa style

What if you had a meeting and nobody came? Well that seems to be par for the course with Tampa. They schedule a meeting about the future of the 22nd street parkland. Much like they did when planning to locate a dump there (oops, I'm sorry, "transfer station") they forgot to tell the folks that live there. Oh to the city's credit they did notify Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association which promptly did nothing to get the word out.

Here we go again. Let me see, OSHNA can send out "alerts" announcing the new chair for the library committee (yawn) but can't send an alert affecting riverfront parkland in the neighborhood. (my personal editorial comments are on my personal blog) As an update/clarification: Susan Long, OSHNA's president did send Diane Jenkins to represent the neighborhood and association at the meeting and received a report back. Something that was not clear when we first spoke about this issue. While I think email alerts would have reached a broader audience, Susan's commitment to making sure the Association was represented is greatly appreciated. So if my comments were in any way misinterpreted as directed at her specifically or in general it was not my intention. However, I continue to believe there is room to improve communication within OSHNA's boundaries. More importantly, there is an even greater need for the city communicate with residents and with enough time for neighborhood organizations to get imput from the areas affected.

Now back to the park issue. Where does the city hold the Temple Crest...a 15 minute drive out of the neighborhood affected. That is even better than when they held the meeting for the speed tables in Seminole Crest at Osborne and 22nd St.

Once again the City and the Neighborhood Association have failed to communicate with the people most impacted. I myself did not learn of the meeting until the association president was looking for contact information for the only Seminole Crest neighbor to attend. Kudos for Carlos for attending.

After the transfer station, I would have thought there would be a greater effort. No one can say there are no members in the Seminole Crest area because quite a few joined at the meeting that discussed the transfer station.

There is really no excuse why OSHNA can't get word out about matters such as this with a bank account climbing to the 50K mark....crying lack of resources doesn't work. There are about 350 homes in the Seminole Crest. Last year the transfer station flier cost me $46, shoe leather and 4 hours of walking. OSHNA could have sent a postcard to all 350 homes for under $150 (that's including postage). Or maybe even sent an e-mail alert to all members. Maybe the turn-out might have been the same. Maybe it would have been higher. Maybe the OSHNA could have pushed the city to hold the meeting in the neighborhood (there are multiple locations on the east side of 275 that could have accommodated such a meeting).

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