City partners create healthy neighborhoods

February 5, 2012 by  

Led by the mayor and city officials, the city of St. Cloud is conducting another Healthy Neighbours Partnership to create strong neighborhoods and reduce crime.

This is the fourth round of the initiative, begun in 2006, that brings together municipal and community leaders with residents to discuss concerns and strengths; how to address them or promote them.

“You don’t have a strong city without strong neighborhoods,” Mayor Dave Kleis said.

When residents are involved in the decision making and planning in the neighborhood where they live, they feel more connected and therefore, are not tempted to move out of the area should things go wrong. The deeper the connection and the sense of place, the less crime.

In this round, seven neighborhoods have been chosen to participate. Through a fund granted by The Initiate Foundation, residents go through training to lead vision meetings where those involved in the process work together on their vision plans. The plan is a living document which keeps track of past dialogue and future ideas on neighborhood enhancements.

Kleis also said St. Cloud will be taking the next step by flyer printing and delivering surveys by hand to the residents involved. The printing will be paid for by a grant from the League of Minnesota Cities. The survey will also assist the city in determining the type of services residents want, and the results will be collated and published by St. Cloud State University.

Changes that have been made as a result of past programs include stricter fines for illegal rental properties, fines and policies regarding excessive consumption of alcohol in private and public areas, making party hosts accountable for the behaviour of their guests, grants to people who have made property improvements and extra TLC for parks and green spaces.