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Mayor's Office

2008 Media Releases

December 4, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Jon Carlson, Stronger Safer Neighborhoods, 441-7224

Assessment targets needs in older neighborhoods

Mayor Chris Beutler announced today that the Stronger Safer Neighborhoods initiative has undertaken a grant-funded project to detail the condition of every property in an area south of the Capitol. The 48-block area is from 9th to 17th streets and from “A” to “G” streets.

Jon Carlson, aide to Mayor Beutler, said collecting data on the condition of neighborhood properties is a top priority for the Stronger Safer Neighborhoods program he manages. “It’s critical that we focus our resources efficiently and effectively,” Carlson said. “It’s also important to establish baselines to measure our progress as we work to improve the area.”

Mayor Beutler said he was pleased with the progress to date. “Over the past few months, our Stronger Safer Neighborhoods team has energized community residents, increased neighborhood safety and improved properties,” he said. “We are getting results in making our neighborhoods better places to live.”

“Improving the physical condition of the neighborhood is key to revitalization,” said Elizabeth “Betty” McGuire, the AmeriCorps member selected to coordinate the project. “This assessment pinpoints areas of weakness so we can direct the appropriate resources to them.”

Carlson said that McGuire is a great addition to a strong community organizing team that includes Pat Anderson and Shawn Ryba from NeighborWorks Lincoln. McGuire is an Environmental Studies major at UNL. She previously interned with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. She is taking classes at Southeast Community College while participating in AmeriCorps, a national program that encourages service to local organizations.

“Betty is another example of the positive partnerships the initiative has created,” said Carlson. “Stronger Safer Neighborhoods is a great way to encourage young adults to help revitalize their communities. I’m impressed with Betty’s knowledge, willingness to serve and hard work.”

McGuire said her experience shows that Stronger Safer Neighborhoods is making a positive difference. “Residents say the neighborhood has really improved in the last nine months,” she said. “Many of our assessment volunteers commented that properties were in better shape than they expected.”

Beutler said he looked forward to the results of the assessment. “These neighborhoods are getting better,” he said. “Jon has really worked to create a coordinated effort between City departments and our partners at the schools and non-profits and in the business community. This mapping project will help us continue to use City resources strategically and wisely to continue improving neighborhoods.”

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Media Releases