Public Safety and Community Services
In December, students from the University of Kansas Political Science and Sociology departments conducted a survey of Green Impact Zone® residents. Residents rated violent crime as the most important problem in the zone, followed closely by vacant buildings and litter or trash.
Studies show a direct connection between high levels of trash and litter and high levels of crime. The Green Impact Zone's strategy plan calls for strong community policing and code enforcement efforts, operated in close coordination with the neighborhood leaders and residents. The zone's community ombudsmen serve as liaisons to connect residents and neighborhood associations with public safety programs and
To help combat crime, the Green Impact Zone formed a Public Safety Committee made up of neighborhood leaders and members of the Kansas City Police Department. The committee identified two programs that would be beneficial to residents — the Police Athletic League and Citizen's Police Academy — and plans are underway to engage residents in both next spring.
Zone staff worked closely with neighborhood associations to conduct clean-up events in Town Fork Creek, Ivanhoe and Manheim. The Ivanhoe clean-up collected 11.93 tons of trash and 3.69 tons of yard waste.The Green Impact Zone also partnered with Bridging the Gap to promote recycling to residents.
EPA Brownfields grants are helping to clean up neighborhoods, with $120,000 allocated to conduct targeted Brownfield assessments for over 160 properties in the zone and $1 million (partially for the Green Impact Zone) to promote reinvestment in properties owned by the Jackson County Land Trust.
An important part of neighborhood improvement is to help residents make their voices heard. To this end, zone staff provided support for the U.S. Census Bureau to help ensure an accurate count of residents in the zone, and received voter registration training that allows the zone office to serve as a certified voter registration site.
Community Leadership Program
The Community Leadership Program is an effort to help build new leadership capacity among the neighborhoods in the Green Impact ZoneÂ®. The zone's community ombudsmen actively recruit residents who want to make a difference in their communities to enroll in the program.
Developed by the city of Kansas City and the Mid-America Regional Council's Government Training Institute, the Community Leadership Program includes a progressive, skill-building curriculum delivered through a series of five certificate courses: Personal Strengths, Facilitation Skills, Relationship Building, Problem Solving and Community Building.
Each certificate course includes five, two-hour classes. The program is offered at no charge to residents of the Green Impact Zone and other parts of Kansas City, Mo.
More than 150 people, including many zone residents, took part in the program during its first year, and six people earned certificates in all five training series.
Zone residents Francine Nelson and Sharon Bass enrolled in the Community Leadership Program, which spurred their involvement in many other activities throughout the Green Impact Zone -- including co-chairing the city's Night Out Against Crime event. Sharon and Francine have become extraordinary volunteers, taking on leadership roles that often involve volunteering more than 20 hours a week.