Picnics served to reach out to the publicPublished 2:42pm Saturday, September 1, 2012
By Chad Adams, City View
Over the past few weeks, city leaders teamed with the National Vitality Center Leadership Team to host three neighborhood picnics as an opportunity to engage the community.
The picnics were held at Frank Hall Park, Troy Hammer Park and Sondergaard Park.
All city departments were present at the picnics to display the services we provide, along with some of the tools and equipment we use in our daily operations. City leaders were very pleased with the turnout and we received a lot of great feedback on city services and projects.
In the past few years, the Albert Lea Police Department and National Vitality Center Leadership Team have been successful engaging the community through the community policing program and various vitality initiatives.
Our plan was to build on those successful initiatives. Ultimately, we viewed the picnics as one method to reach out to the community and provide an alternative venue from our traditional setting to provide good customer service. Based on the level of engagement at this year’s neighborhood picnics, we plan to continue the picnics at three different parks next year.
The picnics will also help strengthen our neighborhoods by creating an atmosphere for community members to connect with each other. The city recently completed the National Citizen Survey, which demonstrated that half of Albert Lea residents have contact with their neighbors at least several times a week.
This amount of contact with neighbors is about the same as the amount of contact reported in other communities throughout the nation. The city wants to hear from the community on how to build stronger and safer neighborhoods, which will help us improve the overall quality of life in Albert Lea.
While the neighborhood picnics provided us with one forum to connect with residents, we ask that you contact us at City Hall as well to hear your thoughts on many important matters before us.
Some present and upcoming topics that the council will be providing policy action on include the Fire Department level of services, 2013 budget and taxes, Bridge Avenue corridor access management, and the Broadway Avenue reconstruction (and streetscape) project. We encourage you to contact your council member, attend a meeting or keep up with the topics through city information outlets and local media.
I appreciate our residents for attending and engaging with us at this year’s picnics. We were also grateful to the National Vitality Center Leadership Team and Pioneering Healthy Communities for coordinating the donations of food and refreshments from local businesses for the picnics.
I also commend our staff for a great job in coordinating, attending, and participating in the picnics. We look forward to serving you again at next year’s picnics.
Chad Adams is the city manager of Albert Lea.