North Side Health Advisory Committee members, at their first meeting of the year last week, established priorities for 2012 and agreed to become members of the Northland Community Council.

North Side Health Advisory Committee members, at their first meeting of the year last week, established priorities for 2012 and agreed to become members of the Northland Community Council.

Members of the group also established a meeting schedule for the months ahead, received an update on the process for becoming a nonprofit organization and discussed a project designed to breathe life back into the Beaumont neighborhood east and south of Northland Village.

"Fascinating neighborhood," commented Mathew S. Baldwin, the Columbus Public Health management analyst who serves as advisor to the committee. "I think you could objectively say it is the most interesting neighborhood in Franklin County, in central Ohio."

The North Side Health Advisory Committee is one of several groups and nonprofit agencies organized by the Northland Alliance to participate in the revitalization effort for the diverse area, home to several immigrant populations.

Baldwin said a Jan. 16 literature drop-off conducted by student volunteers from Ohio State University went well. The literature invited residents to a Feb. 16 meeting on how to resurrect the defunct Beaumont Civic Association.

"We hit literally 99 percent of the homes," he said, adding that the figure would have been 100 percent, but residents advised against even entering some of the apartment complexes in the neighborhood.

Having the advisory committee join the Northland Community Council, which was suggested by current vice president Emmanuel V. Remy, is "basically just a formality," committee co-chairman Scott Dowling said.

"All we have to say is yes or no," he said.

The membership fee would be waived by the health panel, Dowling added, because the organization seeks to serve and benefit the entire Northland community. Membership would also pave the way for the other co-chair of the committee, Sandy LaFollette, to serve as the NCC's treasurer; she's so far the only candidate for the position. Election of NCC officers is set for the Feb. 7 meeting.

"I think it's a great opportunity," Dowling said. "I don't see any reason for us not to belong to the Northland Community Council."

Committee member Dave Cooper, who represents the Northland Alliance at NCC meetings, agreed, calling it a "good move." It would help assure city officials the various aspects of the Northland community are working together, Cooper added.

Health committee sessions are normally held the fourth Thursday of the month, but that would coincide with Thanksgiving in November. Members agreed to change that month's meeting date to Nov. 15, and to once again not meet in the month of December.

The return of the panel's signature event, the Y Walk Northland, will be the top priority for the first two quarters of 2012. Planning for the May 19 health-promotion project is already under way, Dowling said. The event will coincide with the community garage sale in the Forrest Park neighborhood adjacent to the North YMCA and with a media sale fundraiser by the Y Service Club.

Once that event is out of the way, Dowling and the others agreed to again consider pursuing a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The committee tried, but failed, last year to obtain a $6,000 grant through the Healthy People 2020 program of the CDC. The proposal the money would have funded involved promoting physical activity and offering training on the selection and preparation of healthy food.

The former involves little or no expense, but the latter would necessitate the purchase of a considerable food, Baldwin said.

"We're going to have to have cash money," he added. "Nobody's going to give us all that for free."

Baldwin said it is impressive that the organization, less than two years old, was able to even put together a request for a CDC grant.

"Which is about as big-league as you can get in the field of health," Baldwin said. "There are a lot of organizations that wouldn't even think of that."

The North Side Health Advisory Committee Inc. is now registered as a nonprofit organization with the Ohio Secretary of State's Office, Dowling announced. Full nonprofit status won't be achieved, however, until the committee obtains a federal tax identification number, he said.

"That's going to be a little involved," Dowling admitted.

HandsOn Central Ohio, formerly known as FirstLink, offers training on the required fiscal responsibilities for nonprofits, and Dowling said he hopes to sign up for the class. He added that he hopes the committee will complete all the steps to becoming an official nonprofit by the second quarter of the year.

On the funding front, Cooper, who is chairman of this year's Northland Area Business Association golf outing, said he would be asking the board of directors to name the Health Advisory Committee as this year's nonprofit partner for the fundraising event in September. Beginning about five years ago, he said, NABA has provided 20 percent of the proceeds from the golf outing to some local nonprofit entity.

"It won't represent a lot of money," Cooper cautioned.

The Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center free clinic received a check for $1,200 as a result of being the nonprofit partner for the 2011 NABA golf outing, he said.