“That’s one, but like I said we’re looking at several options for Brook Oaks,” Smith said.
He also said Neighborhood Engagement Director Melett Harrison and Neighborhood Engagement Program Coordinator Rolando Rodriguez made it clear they would be available for questions about the fairly extensive application, which requires legal documents and tax information for each neighborhood association, but he is worried the process will keep some groups from applying.
“They can condense it a little bit, I think that that will be helpful because what you want to have is the ability for as many entities that want to participate to participate,” Smith said. “It is quite a lot.”
During a Waco City Council meeting last week, Harrison said a survey of neighborhood associations found that signs, traffic control measures, security equipment, community events, infrastructure improvements, and money for startup costs like printing materials, food and meeting supplies were at the top of the list of things neighborhood associations would use grant money for. School programs and website development were also near the top of the list.
She told council members that only two of Waco’s peer cities, College Station and Denton, have comparable neighborhood engagement programs.
In an interview last week, Harrison said this is the first program of this kind in the city’s history. She said there was a brief period in the early 1990s when neighborhood associations had a role in the city budget process, but that was before she came to work for the city.