Development remains top NCC goal for 2013
After briefly looking back on accomplishments in 2012, Northland Community Council President Emmanuel V. Remy last week offered some goals for the coming year.
The top item on the list, derived from a gathering earlier of the council's executive committee, remains "being our own best cheerleader from a development perspective," Remy said.
"No one knows the community like the people who live in the community," he added.
Coupled with that will be continuing to work with city officials on updating the existing plan for the area of Northland that's south and west of Interstate 270, the traditional original boundaries of the community.
The updated plan may include some innovative, long-term objectives, Remy said, such as eliminating the system of service roads that parallel East Dublin-Granville Road.
Focusing on housing for senior citizens was the third objective for the coming year arrived at by the council's elected officers.
More than 30 percent of the neighborhood's residents are or soon will be senior citizens, Remy said. Many want to remain in the area when age and infirmity force them to give up their homes, he said, but that's often impossible due to a shortage of housing.
Vacant tracts along East Dublin-Granville Road could be "repurposed" to fill that gap, according to Remy.
"The bottom line is, we've got to think outside the box," he said.
When a store, restaurant or other business departs the Northland area, it's unlikely a similar enterprise will rush in to take its place, he said. Instead, entirely different types of economic development need to be considered, Remy indicated.
Finally, Remy used the report on 2013 goals to make a pitch for increased involvement in the NCC's two major annual activities, the Independence Day Parade and a longstanding awards banquet recognizing volunteers and organizations in the community.
He called the banquet, which this year falls on March 14, something "special and sacred that we need to keep going." No other civic organization in Columbus honors volunteerism and community service, Remy said.
Likewise, no other large-scale parade on the Fourth of July is sponsored by a civic organization in the state, but in recent years, only a handful have been willing to work on planning the event, according to Remy.
He challenged each NCC member organization to find two people to serve on the parade committee.
"Every community should have a stake in it," Remy said.
"We need idea people and someone to do logistics, but what we need most is people willing to be part of the team," said Treasurer Sandy LaFollette, chairwoman of last year's parade committee.
NCC Secretary Brandon L. Boos also took some time to pitch for member organizations to help with creating a guidebook that would contain histories and profiles of the civic associations that belong to the NCC as well as brief biographies of the people who serve as representatives at the monthly meetings.
"We tried this last year and we just didn't get much back," Boos said. "It's becoming a priority for 2013."
Accomplishments in 2012, Remy said, included:
* Participating in putting on the inaugural Northland Community International Festival.
* Holding one of the largest Independence Day Parades in the 50-year history of the event.
* Establishing an education committee to get the school community involved in the council, and vice versa.