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www.wmfd.com - The Citizen Action sector of the Richland Community Development Group is considering if it should continue to pursue a state grant for a proposed 2-1-1 central intake system to gather complaints about blight and other code violations. }}" />

   
 
 
Group Continues To Support Proposed Blight Reporting System

Story By: Brigitte Coles

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 5/9/2013The Citizen Action sector of the Richland Community Development group is considering if it should continue to pursue a state grant for a proposed 2-1-1 central intake system to gather complaints about blight and other code violations. The $100,000 Local Government Innovation Grant required a resolution of support from Mansfield City Council, as a government agency sponsoring the application for the funding. Council declined the resolution at its meeting in April. The next application cycle for the grant is September. The Citizen Action Group met Wednesday at the North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC), to discuss the next steps in moving forward with the project.The project consists of developing a comprehensive program to report blight and create a database to receive funding to address the issue. The project includes using Richland County's 2-1-1 referral system to route the complaints to the appropriate agencies to reduce duplication of multiple agencies responding to the complaint. Intake software would be used as part of the intake process. NECIC community organizer Jean Taddie said she received an email from Safety-Service Director Lori Cope stating the city does not have the funding to support the project because its assisting other agencies and working on its own projects. Cope recommended the group apply for the grant without the city. Taddie said the group can not apply for the grant without the support of a government agency. NECIC executive director Deanna West-Torrence said the city should support the proposa;. "This rarely happened that you have this incredible amount of collaboration and agencies bringing what they do to the table to solve a community problem," West-Torrence said. " It's a shame that it was not valued or just not understood. Not wanting to commit those resources to draw in $100,000 into the community is baffling to me," West-Torrence said.NECIC, Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department, the Mansfield-Richland County Public Library, Regional Planning Commission and Neighborhood Watch Group are among several community agencies who worked on the proposal for almost two years.Members of the action group questioned why Mayor Tim Theaker did not attend the meeting. Community development director Donnie Mitchell attended the meeting on the Mayor's behalf and told the group he would share their concerns with him. Mansfield-Richland County Public Library director Joe Palmer said the library will continue to support the program not as a lead agency. Matt Work, environmental chief for the Mansfield-Richland County Health Department said the health supports the program. He expressed his disappointment with council lack of support. "I'm baffled as to why the city would not want to try it, when it's not going to take a dime out of the city's pocket," Work said. Work said Cope's decision not to support the program indicates she didn't understand the proposal ir there is a political battle going. Citizen Action members claim Cope did not take the legislation for the resolution as promised to city council before the required deadline.   
   
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