Dublin is working to increase communication with residents through homeowners and civic associations.

Dublin is working to increase communication with residents through homeowners and civic associations.

During a meeting last week with civic association leaders, city staff members gave updates on upcoming projects, grant opportunities and city finances, as well as a peek at how they plan to increase and improve communication among the city, civic associations and residents.

Community-relations director Sandra Puskarcik said the effort to keep communication flowing between the city and civic associations has been going on for several years.

"Probably in the last ten years we have formalized communication with civic associations. We realized the community was growing at such a fast pace in the '90s that we had to find the most effective and efficient way to reach out to residents and we were fortunate to find in Dublin that so many residents came forward for leadership roles in neighborhoods. We were able to tap those resources," she said.

After getting requests for information from those civic associations in forms that range from email and snail mail to social networking sites and sandwich boards, an ad hoc committee of civic association leaders was formed to fine tune communications, Puskarcik said.

Cristie Wilt, of the community-relations department, told civic leaders last week the committee comprised volunteers who suggested using e-mail, a newsfeed and door hangers for communication.

While e-mail was the most preferred, Wilt said, "the group said (sandwich boards and door hangers) are still effective ways to reach residents."

Per suggestions from the committee, the city will also work with civic associations on web pages for each group, Wilt said.

"Some of you already have websites … but we received requests to make websites," she said. "These are Web pages designed for you."

According to Wilt, the Web pages, hosted on the city website, will include contact information of association leadership, links and news pertinent to the neighborhood. The city will also offer training.

Wilt said another meeting will be scheduled "in the next couple of months" where the city will present civic association web pages and training times, with a launch planned for the spring.

The web pages will be free to the civic associations.

With 81 civic associations in Dublin, Puskarcik said it's important for the city to work with them on several different fronts.

"It's really twofold," she told the Villager. "One: we have an official representative from each neighborhood. Some groups have a president and board, but we know we are working with involved citizenry and people dedicated to the neighborhoods and community. When we have questions we can work through them. They also provide opportunities in neighborhoods. When there are problems, they can act as a sounding board… They can resolve a challenge without having to go to the city."

Communication remains paramount between the city and civic associations and it extends far beyond getting the latest news to residents.

Interim Police Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg addressed association leaders at last week's meeting, giving a rundown on the social host law and new education effort to reduce residential burglaries and theft from vehicles.

"They really want to talk about things they can do personally to increase safety in neighborhoods," Puskarcik said. "What we're hearing from neighborhoods is they want to take a personal responsibility and that's an incredible benefit to the entire community."

jnoblit@thisweeknews.com

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