Tonight the city will introduce a strategic plan to address the considerable income, health and other disparities that create undue hardships for some families and individuals here in Columbia. Council and city staff have selected three neighborhoods that are underperforming on a wide range of metrics for special attention. Their goal is to move the needle on some key issues.
One of these targeted neighborhoods incorporates a section of the Business Loop from Sexton to Providence and runs south to Ash. While the focus will be on improving the residential areas, The Loop CID is highly supportive of the city's efforts and have already offered our assistance. One key recommendation is that the city--who wants to reclaim parks as a safe, community space for the neighborhoods--focus their attention on the Downtown Optimist Park on Grand & Forest. It has some great playground equipment and is within easy walking distance of homes but unfortunately, is an area that is not as safe as it could be.
There are many opportunities for the city to direct resources to this neighborhood but the first steps will be a mix of outreach and community policing. Using the Douglass Park model, two officers will be assigned to this neighborhood with the goal of meeting the residents and offering assistance. It's not just a question of adding police patrols, it's about building relationships between the residents and the city.
This is a long-term investment by the city but the initial plan will be discussed at today's pre-council meeting at 5 pm at City Hall. You can also download a map and an overview of the plan:
Strategic Plan Areas of Focus
Central Neighborhood - Map
Central Neighborhood Profile
Again, we are excited about this program and hope to help the city with their mission to strengthen these neighborhoods.