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City officials seek to partner with neighborhood residents

City officials in Thomson have launched a new program aimed at listening to specific concerns of residents living in various neighborhoods.

One of their first such meetings took place recently with a group of residents living in the city limits portion of Martin Luther King Street.

"It was a good meeting," remarked Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry in reference to the time that he and City Administrator Don Powers, Housing Authority Director Bob Flanders, City Code Enforcer Mike Dunn and Police Chief John Hathaway spent with the residents. "I felt good when we left. We've got a group of folks over there who want to do something about making their neighborhood a better place to live. As city officials, we applaud their effort."

About a dozen residents met with the city group. They addressed such concerns as things going on in their neighborhood they shouldn't be. Some of those concerns were crime-related. Mr. Powers said some of the residents talked about a few run-down houses in their neighborhood being used for "nasty" activities, according to Mr. Powers.

"We want them and others in our neighborhoods to know that we appreciate and support them," Mayor Usry said. "Those folks left that meeting knowing we're trying to help them and that was a good feeling."

Mr. Powers explained that city officials would like to organize neighborhood teams within the city to address specific problems being encountered by residents who live in certain neighborhoods.

Already, residents on the opposite side of the city, in what is referred to as the Pine Hills neighborhood, have expressed a desire to discuss some specific problems, Mr. Powers said.

The city administrator called it another neighborhood in a "transitional" stage, noting that it has become another area with mixed races of people. "The needs are different in both of these neighborhoods," Mr. Powers said. "The focus is to partner with these neighborhoods."

Residents in those neighborhoods have expressed a desire to better "police" the areas they call home, he added.

"We want them to act responsibly," Mr. Powers said.

At the same time that Mayor Usry is appreciative of residents wanting to insure the best for the areas where they live, he also expressed his appreciation to city officials.

"This is a start and I appreciate the city folks being responsive to this," Mayor Usry said.

Web posted on Thursday, June 26, 2008

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