Ruth Marlatt presents block party plan 9.4

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Neighbors get together for a “block party,” discuss problems in their neighborhood, and take action to find a solution.

That’s the plan behind Fayette council member Ruth Marlatt’s idea that she calls “Project Pride.”

Marlatt, a former mayor of the community,  told council last week that she would like to see residents work together to improve the community.

“I feel that if people were given the opportunity to voice what they feel the needs of their neighborhood are, then the next logical step is working on a solution,” Marlatt said in her presentation. “If they can successfully discuss and work on a problem then they are taking positive ownership of the community once again. They are then also realizing the pride that they feel as homeowners in solving a problem.”

Marlatt’s idea is to divide the village into  areas, such as Irene Court, South Cherry, South Gorham, etc. One person in each area could serve as a leader and the host of a “block party” at a home or other location.

Invitations would be sent to people in each area and reminder phone calls would be made.

“The party would be a place to meet and listen to a few encouraging speakers talk about how to improve their area. The speaker would lead them in discussion of identifying the existing problems of their neighborhood,” Marlatt said.

The group could then list the major needs of the area and work on solutions. Discussion could also go beyond the neighborhood to include issues affecting the village as a whole.

She listed the lack of sidewalks available for school children as an example of a problem in a particular neighborhood. Needs are likely to vary from one neighborhood to another.

“If they have an interest and idea about a problem, then let’s hear it,” she said. “If they can think of some way to work through this problem, then great.

“If they have no interest in working on this and think that it is not important, then that is just as important to know.”

Marlatt suggested bringing in out-of-town judges to select the group that made the biggest impact. Residents in that area would receive a reward, such as a discounted price for sidewalk installation.

If the program were successful, she said, it could attract some media coverage from outside the area and perhaps get noticed by state officials. It might eventually lead to financial grants for additional projects.

Marlatt envisions meetings scheduled four times a year at the most. She said the process might serve as a good recruitment tool to bring some new faces into public service, and the process is likely to bring some community concerns to light that council members aren’t aware of.

Councilor Jerry Gonzales offered his support, but with a caution.

“I’m behind this, but I want to make sure it’s geared to the village and not to an individual,” he said.

It shouldn’t become a means for dictating how someone else should live.

Ken Delphous agreed that discussion at meetings shouldn’t initiate rules for a neighborhood, but he added that shame can serve as a good motivating factor.

Paul Shaffer suggested that a “pride box” could be used to collect concerns of a more personal nature rather than bringing them up at the meetings.

Marlatt suggested that a way to begin the meetings would be to ask people to finish the sentence: “If I could change or  fix one thing in the village, I would.…”

Then the discussion would be narrowed to the neighborhood where each gathering is located.

  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016