The Pinellas County Urban League, through the Black-on-Black Crime Prevention Program, participated in the 2012 Council of Neighborhood Associations’ (CONA) annual goal setting and planning session on February 4, 2012. The activity, held at the SunCoast Hospice Center, 3050 1st Avenue South in Saint Petersburg, offers residents the opportunity to influence city priorities by working together and sharing the collective voice of all neighborhood associations. Mayor Bill Foster set the tone for the meeting by thanking residents for their commitment to the city. “We want people to love the city,” said Foster. During his remarks, he stressed the need for more dialog, new ideas and a renewed energy to overcome many of the challenges created by the economic downturn that rippled through the global economy.
Represented by staff and BOBCPP Task Force member, Gershom Faulkner, the program and its constituents spoke in favor of increasing collaboration between CONA and youth groups as a way to strengthen community ties, further reduce crime rates and beautify communities through multiple small-scale projects. Advocates for increasing neighborhood participation within the Council structure, session participants agreed that CONA must make a greater effort to reach the community with its message and then follow up with training, coaching and resource sharing for communities that need help organizing and managing an association. Presently, only 32 of the city’s 74 neighborhoods are active within CONA. The group identified the need to understand why communities fail to participate as a top priority.
Information about CONA is available from its website. For more information on how the Black-on-Black Crime Prevention Program may assist you, please call (727) 328-1968.