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City of Charleston's 'Neighborhood Toolkit' provides resources for neighborhood associations

Source: WCSC Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC Source: WCSC
CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

The City of Charleston in partnership with a local non-profit, Enough Pie, is providing resources to help improve neighborhood associations. 

Mayor John Tecklenburg along with several neighborhood leaders came together at Burke High School for the unveiling of the 'Neighborhood Toolkit.'

Sue Flaster is part on the neighborhood commission. It's an organization that licenses new neighborhood associations and deals with neighborhood issues.

"Our primary interest is to foster community so that we can live together better, more productively and just be better neighbors for each other," Flaster said.

She's hoping to gain some insight through the Neighborhood Toolkit. 

Cathryn Zommer is the executive director of Enough Pie. She says it took about 9 months to create the toolkit. 

"We noticed again and again that there were tools missing from neighborhood associations," Zommer said. "Templates for flyers, sign-up sheets, how to get in touch with certain folks in the city where there are specific needs a neighborhood has, so we identified
this."

Zommer says Enough Pie uses creativity to connect and empower the community. She too is a neighborhood association president. 

"We believe that neighborhood associations are really an important part of the fabric of community here in Charleston," Zommer said.

This free 33-page Neighborhood Tool-Kit includes everything from how to foster participation in meetings, to ways to improve communication with residents to city resources that can help associations thrive.

George Palmer is the President of the Westside neighborhood association. 

"As a neighborhood president I'm just trying to provide the best service I can to my residents," Palmer said.

He says serving in his role is like a full-time job and he is thankful for resources like the toolkit that help. 

"Development is a challenge, how do we control the development and mix the new neighbors with the old and come to common goals and common outlook," Palmer said.

Sue Flaster says she's concerned with the influx of national chain stores and hotels coming up around neighborhoods on the peninsula. 

"The more information you have about what resources are available the better the chance you have to do something useful," Flaster said.

While different neighborhoods are faced with its own challenges. The city hopes for the Neighborhood Toolkit to serve as a guide to navigate various situations. 

Saturday's event also included guest speakers and a pair of panel discussions about neighborhood issues. The first panel featured experienced neighborhood leaders from Charleston. The second panel included City of Charleston staff members who work directly with neighborhoods.

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