The economic downturn, along with cuts to the city's budget, will lead the Northland Community Council to work with other community groups to make sure residents' needs are being met.

The economic downturn, along with cuts to the city's budget, will lead the Northland Community Council to work with other community groups to make sure residents' needs are being met.

"I think all of our (Northland) groups, not just the NCC, are going to look for ways to fill the gap in city services and state services that are being cut," said NCC President Dave Paul.

That likely will mean working to identify other resources that residents can use to replace lost city services, Paul said.

One example of that may be forming a health advisory committee for the northeast side, he said.

Other city neighborhoods have such committees, which work to identify community needs, gaps in health care services in the community and resources that could be used to fill those gaps.

The group also would advocate for resources for the neighborhood by showing decision makers why investing in the area is important.

"That's something that's been an objective that's probably more important now," Paul said. "I've got folks who want to serve and have ideas. It's just a matter of getting them together."

With the city budget cuts that are expected to come in 2009, Paul said he also anticipates problems arising with local parks and recreation centers.

"So far, it's not appeared to affect us in the Northland area, at least in terms of (recreation center) closings," Paul said.

But with a dramatically decreased budget for the Department of Recreation and Parks, Paul said it is likely that residents will see a decrease in park maintenance and in recreation programming.

Also in 2009, Paul said he anticipates working more closely with the Community Coalition, a group comprising neighborhood leaders from around the city that works together on shared issues.

That group, which formed out of a work group put together by Mayor Michael B. Coleman last year, will be even more important in light of the budget cuts, Paul said, and will work to find alternatives to services cut by the city.

The group also plans to work to create a community vision for the Department of Recreation and Parks, he said.

Much of what the NCC will focus on in 2009 are ongoing goals, Paul said, such as keeping member organizations in tact, bolstering resident involvement in the community and reaching out to churches, ethnic communities and other groups in the Northland area.

"I think there are sort of ongoing objectives that will carry on from year to year," he said.