A movement is afoot to try to once again have the Columbus Community Coalition coalesce.

A movement is afoot to try to once again have the Columbus Community Coalition coalesce.

"It's something that we believe will come and should come back," Northland Community Council president Dave Paul said last week.

He was among those who helped start the organization, aimed at fostering and improving communication and cooperation among local civic associations, area commissions and community councils, in early 2008. It grew out of a working group convened the previous year by city council to make recommendations on ways citizen groups can better work together and with city officials.

Paul, along with former Northwest Civic Association president Jennifer Adair, who recently helped form the new Maize Road Civic Association in North Linden, served on the task force, representing not only their organizations but civic associations in general.

"Once we were done, those of us involved said, 'You know this has been very beneficial, to come together and talk like this,' " Paul said.

More than 50 people gathered in February 2008 seeking to determine what form a new group might take, and what issues it would address.

"We're not looking at a really formalized structure," then-Clintonville Area Commission chairman Chris Gawronski said at the time. "We're not looking at creating more bureaucracy.

"I see this as very fluid and changing as it needs (to be) changed."

"The objective was to bring not just the area commissions but all the 300, at the time and perhaps more, civic associations in Columbus together," Paul said last week.

"The reason that the coalition was formed was just to make sure that neighbors were talking," Adair said.

The mission statement for what organizers decided to dub the Columbus Community Coalition, still up on its dormant website, states:

"The Columbus Community Coalition fosters and enhances relationships among community groups by advocating to improve the quality of life in Columbus, Ohio."

The coalition did have four quarterly meetings and participated in putting on a July 20 debate regarding the income tax hike which voters approved in an Aug. 4 special election. Eventually, however, other citywide issues and local matters pulled those active in the organization in different directors, Paul said.

"On hiatus is probably the best way to describe how it has been, since at least 2009," he said.

Before that took place, the NCC president said that the coalition developed an e-mail list of 200 or so people and created a website to provide a clearinghouse for community issues affecting the entire city, the way the community council does for the specific Northland area.

"We think it's a good time to sort of dust those tools off and reestablish contact with the folks who had sort of expressed interest in being involved before," Paul said.

At an informal meeting last week, coalition participants from the outset determined not only that now was the time to jumpstart the organization but also the date for a meeting at which the group would sponsor a presentation on the local Project Safe Neighborhoods effort being jointly undertaken by the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney and the Public Defender's Office, according to Adair.

The meeting will take place on March 31, she said, with a location to be determined, and it is intended to see if representatives of neighborhood groups want to try to implement Project Safe Neighborhoods in their parts of the city.

"Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun and gang crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun and gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful," according to its website.

"Since its inception in 2001, approximately $2 billion has been committed to this initiative," it states. "This funding is being used to hire new federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime, and develop and promote community outreach efforts as well as to support other gun and gang violence reduction strategies."

"This seemed like a very good opportunity to make the CCC an agent again in the community to share information and bring the neighborhoods together," Paul said.

It won't be easy, the NCC president conceded. "We do need to almost start from ground zero," Paul said.

Nevertheless, according to Adair, it's going to happen."It definitely is," she said.