Northland News

NABA in 2014

Cooper's goals include cultivating long-term leadership

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Dave Cooper intends to spend part of the coming year as president of the Northland Area Business Association trying to find someone willing to take over the job in 2015.

Cooper had hoped a member of the organization would agree to be elected to the post late last year, but found no takers.

"At this time, I offered the opportunity to any member or anyone involved and there was no one in a position to step to the plate, so I felt in order to keep the organization moving ... at least for now it was in everyone's best interest to keep in place people familiar with NABA and to stay on," Cooper said.

Along with grooming a replacement, however, the owner of the Ink Well on East Dublin-Granville Road has a lengthy list of things he'd like to have happen for NABA over the next 12 months.

First up, he said last week, is increasing the membership roster, something he and the new vice president, Marci Hasty of the North YMCA, intend to tackle right away.

In fact, Cooper said, he got a nice present after Christmas that brightened the start of his new year: He found 25 membership renewals at the association's post office box when he picked up the mail Dec. 31.

"Which is excellent," Cooper said.

Strengthening the board of trustees also is a goal for 2014.

"We're trying to cultivate and build 11 solid trustees willing to consider long-term taking over the role of officer at some point," Cooper said.

A new NABA website, developed through working with the nonprofit GroundWork group, should help in recruiting members and in boosting attendance at events the organization sponsors, he said.

The highest priority for NABA in 2014, as it has been for many years, is helping to find tenants for vacant commercial properties.

"This is always at the top of our list," Cooper said. "As you drive down (state Route) 161, there are many, many office buildings that are for lease and are vacant.

"We're going to do everything we can to help fill those properties with businesses that contribute to the community."

The main focus will be on recruiting enterprises that provide services for the elderly, medical care and education, the NABA president added.

Also on the radar for the year, and in line with an oft-stated goal of Northland Community Council President Emmanuel V. Remy, will be addressing the issue of access roads on either side of much of East Dublin-Granville Road.

While these provide a way for people to get to the businesses along the neighborhood's major corridor, Cooper said more and more there is a perception that access roads contribute to the high accident rate at many Route 161 intersections. He said he and Remy, along with other community leaders, hope to work with city officials in studying the matter.

"We don't have an answer yet, but what we want to do is put all our heads together ... and see if there's a way we can deal with these access roads," Cooper said.

Other goals for 2014, Cooper indicated, include:

* Urging the city to build a true community center in the Northland area.

* Improved code enforcement for the neighborhood.

* Creating a safety code and notification system for group homes.

* Crafting regulations for long-term stay hotels.

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